In today’s competitive environment, every physician must consider not only crucial quality-of-care but also the quality of the referrer and patient experience. As highlighted in Part I of this article, the right technology can help fill the gap. For example, a quality digital reporting system also can enhance communication with referrers, while a well-designed patient portal can go a long way towards building a strong relationship with patients. Other technologies also can be leveraged to provide a high level of service for both referrers as well as patients.
Advanced Reporting Systems
It’s often just a single sheet of paper or digital document, but the final radiology report is among the most crucial items impacting the referral stream and the profitability of a practice. If reports are not timely, precise and well organized, then the entire medical business can suffer. Practices that are not leveraging all of today’s innovative reporting tools may find their competition has an unfair advantage.
The best reporting systems will enhance a practice’s workflow by providing the flexibility to support each physician’s preferences through customized protocols, terminology unique to radiology and more. Through advanced templating, a good system also will produce reports that are more precise, consistent and easy-to-understand. That’s another major benefit for your referrers.
Today, a state-of-the-art reporting platform should include:
- A broad selection of easily customizable report templates flexible enough to cater to a variety of referring physician preferences. Templates should build in opportunities for practice branding.
- Powerful and robust capabilities to manage these templates and provide easy access to all radiologists throughout the practice. This not only speeds workflow but also provides all physicians with consistent reporting features—leading to standardized reports that referrers will easily understand.
- Easy insertion of thumbnail images and streamlined edits. Often, a picture really is worth a thousand words for your referral base. Look for “crop and paste” image addition. Advanced editing functions such as drag and drop repositioning of phrases and report availability on mobile devices for revisions on the fly will speed report turnaround.
- Flexible presentations that support headers, footers, highlighted text and easy-to-read reference links.
- Built-in Critical Findings workflow to keep referrers immediately updated on patient condition as well as to ensure radiology practice compliance.
- Radiologist portal for remote signing, editing and archiving to speed report completion.
According to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, radiology results “are one of the most frequently accessed pieces of information via patient portals when available.” Availability of diagnostic information empowers patients to play a greater role in their healthcare, eliminates delays in results communication and speeds the entire diagnostic process. A well-conceived patient portal can be a major benefit to radiologists.
To be helpful, a radiology portal should enable patients to:
- Request appointments
- Access current and prior exam results
- Exchange secure messages with staff
- Request any prescription refills
- Download educational materials
- Schedule email reminders