The pressure and paperwork is mounting on radiology practice operations. Balancing patient preferences with practice needs can be tricky when so many daily workflows like scheduling and billing rely on manual processes. As a document-heavy field, practices need to ensure that their patients’ records remain accurate and secure, while minimizing the amount of physical manual entry required.

Unfortunately, outdated information systems slow down already time-intensive processes, creating more work for administrative staff and longer wait times for patients. Though you may know your existing RIS (radiology information system) and supporting technologies no longer serve the needs of your practice, making the decision to switch radiology information system vendors can feel impossible. But it doesn’t have to be.

Let this post help guide you through the murky process of vetting radiology information system vendors, so you can find the platform and partner that’s right for your organization.

How to Know When You Should Change Your Radiology Information Systems

How do radiology practice managers and leaders know when they should change their radiology information systems? Generally, there are a few ways to tell that your systems need an upgrade:

Inefficient Workflows

Is your staff constantly stopping their tasks to make a manual phone call, scan a document, or collect clipboards full of paperwork? Inefficient, manual administrative workflows are a sure sign that something needs to change - and that something is likely your RIS software.

Radiology practices need an upgrade if your intake process looks something like this:

Step 1: The patient fills out a printed intake form in the waiting room.

Step 2: Documents must be scanned by administrative staff and input into the RIS.

Step 3: The same documents must be scanned again for the technologist.

Step 4: The technologist inputs measurements and clinical notes into the document.

Step 5: The document is uploaded or printed separately for billing operations.

Modern RIS systems with all-digital workflows circumvent these steps by digitizing intake forms, scanning files, and manually saving or uploading files. If the RIS is compatible with every other crucial workflow in your administrative toolkit, you’ll save an inordinate amount of time (and administrative staff stress). 

Piles of Paperwork

Filling out physical paperwork is time-consuming for patients and staff. Neither party likes the work required to fill out pages of paperwork with a pen while adding precious minutes to wait times. While paperwork and filing cabinets stack up, so do operational costs and inefficiencies, leaving room for manual errors and missing patient information. When staff and patients are losing patience over the amount of paperwork in their laps (physically and figuratively), it’s time to vet new radiology information system vendors.

Having to Login Multiple Times

Another time-consuming task many tend to overlook in radiology operations is the amount of time spent logging into a program, logging out, and then logging into a different one just to complete basic tasks. If you find yourself needing multiple platforms to complete the following, it’s time to step up your operational workflows: 

  • Scheduling, confirming, and managing appointments
  • Advanced revenue cycle management
  • Insurance verification
  • POS, online payment
  • Robust business analytics (real-time data dashboards, custom reports, etc.)
  • Digital patient engagement (appointment confirmation, surveys, etc.)

Outdated Security Software

With medical offices being the number one target for U.S. ransomware attacks, patient information security is of the utmost importance. As software ages, it becomes more susceptible to security breaches. Beyond HIPAA compliance, you’ll want to ensure your radiology information system vendor takes security just as seriously as you do, with stringent security protections in place, confirmed by third-party auditors. 

Capacity Limitations

A traditional RIS system requires extra storage, space, and specifications in order to be rolled out to additional locations. If expanding your practice or acquiring new centers requires more hardware, server space, and costly upgrades, it’s time to look for a new system that scales without roadblocks.

Costly Hardware

Let’s dive further into the issue of hardware. The hardware required to run a legacy RIS today costs far more than it’s worth. Most radiology information systems weren’t built for the internet, requiring frequent, hands-on updates to ensure they are compatible with today’s tech ecosystems. The capital costs of hardware, service agreements, software licenses, IT environment maintenance, and upgrades add up much faster than the benefits. If you’re stuck with hardware hard costs as you expand your operations, it’s time to look for a more agile, cloud-native solution.

What to Look for When Vetting Radiology Information System Vendors

There are a few things to look for when shopping around for radiology information system vendors. These five points are signs of a great vendor to consider working with:

All-Digital Workflows

Manual faxing and printing is so 1990’s. There’s a reason why every other industry has deemed faxing archaic. It’s time to simplify workflows for your patients and practice staff. 

While some referring physicians prefer to stay old school and continue faxing orders manually, your practice doesn’t have to hang on to that archaic fax machine to continue receiving them. Find a radiology information system that’s built on all-digital workflows and cloud-native technology to ensure that information (especially faxed information) electronically moves through the RIS system efficiently, seamlessly, and as accurately as possible.

Seamless Integration

Speaking of seamlessness, seamless integration with other software is essential for an outpatient imaging center. The ability to share files and test results between technologists, referring physicians, and patients is essential for an outpatient imaging center. A strong practice solution will allow complete integration with other medical information platforms, including patient portals, insurance and billing software, technologist programs, and more without multiple log-ins or workarounds. 

Unlimited Scalability

Having a single location for your radiology practice is now the rarity instead of the norm. Many practices today have multiple locations or are part of a massive network of care facilities. Radiology information systems that stay relegated to a single location force offices to fax information from location to location or manually call to make appointments, opening up opportunities for security breaches and data transfer errors. A system with unlimited scalability provides offices with more flexibility, safeguards, and seamless experiences for staff and patients. 

History of Innovation

When looking for the best RIS vendor for your practice, it’s important to look beyond the box. Product and company history speak volumes. Radiology information system vendors with a history of innovation are more likely to try new technologies and creatively implement resources that benefit your system’s functionality. Especially ones that were created with radiology operations in mind from the start.

Partnership Approach

It’s also vital to look for a RIS vendor that views your practice as a partner, not as another paycheck.  You want a platform and partnership that works with you and for you, supporting your practice needs and growth initiatives with the best tools and tactics along the way. 

Out of all the radiology information system vendors out there, the partner and platform you want is AbbaDox. 

A RIS Vendor That’s Here for the Long-Term

Suppose your radiology information system is impacting the speed of your workflow, is incompatible with other critical practice software, or is simply too much of a financial hassle to maintain. In that case, it’s time to uplevel your system. Outdated RIS software poses security risks to patient information and leaves room for human error during the data transfer process, not to mention all the costly upgrades required to maintain operations. It’s time for a RIS vendor who partners with you to create innovative ways to streamline every aspect of your radiology practice and the patient experience. It’s our job to make your jobs easier and ensure that your patients get the care they deserve.

Our AbbaDox CareFlow RIS offers everything a practice could ever need and more. We bring together native applications, third-party integrations, and extra-value services to all your locations. AbbaDox offers systems that are designed based on real-world use cases – just pick and choose whatever services you need to create the perfect practice workflow solution!

Interested in trading in and trading up? Request a demo and see why practices across the country are switching to AbbaDox CareFlow for their RIS and key operational workflows.