If you're going to RSNA 2013, come see us at Booth 3913 to hear how we're helping radiology practices electronically connect to the referring community and stand out from their competition!

Our user group meeting was held earlier this month and, as part of the sessions, attendees had the chance to meet in what we called "breakout sessions" with fellow attendees to discuss a designated topic. The topics were chosen by the attendees prior to the session via popular vote. Topics were: 

  • ACOs and Integration Engines
  • Laboratory and Corepoint Health
  • Meaningful Use Stage 2 Requirements: View, Download & Transmit
  • Radiology, Meaningful Use & Corepoint Health
  • Object Gathering
  • Paragon
  • Corepoint Community Exchange & using Web ServicesWeb services are a standardized way of integrating applications. Using open standards, businesses can communicate without in-depth knowledge of one another’s systems, beyond the communication protocol. Because all communication is XML-based, web se... More

Because many in health IT have their sights set on the annual trek to Chicago for RSNA 2013 (come see us at booth 3913!), Dec. 1-6, I thought radiology would be the best place to start with our roundtable recaps. Following are some notes from the radiology topics discussed. Much more was obviously discussed, but I wanted to give readers an idea of a few items that was on everyone's mind.

Meaningful Use

When asked if they had attested for, or were in the process of doing so, 75% of the attendees raised their hand. The question of "Who must produce a CCDContinuity of Care Document (CCD) The HL7 CCD is the result of a collaborative effort between the Health Level Seven and American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) to “harmonize” the data format between ASTM’s Continuity of Care Record (CCR)... More document?" was asked. The answer, in radiology terminology, is the location of the technical test. Additionally, the website radiologymu.org was recommended as a good specialized resource for Meaningful Use in radiology.

Patient Portals

There was interesting discussion on the topic of meeting patient engagement criteria targets in Meaningful Use by using patient portals. Questions centered around ways that patients could be persuaded to utilize the portals. Incentives such as giving away gas cards and iPads were discussed as ways to encourage patients to begin using the services available on the portal. According to Meaningful Use criteria, 10% of a clinic's patients must interact electronically with the hospital to meat criteria.

Another patient benefit — and clinic challenge — of the engagement criteria is the opportunity for radiology clinics share URLs linking to imaging studies via a viewer PACSPicture Archiving Communication Systems (PACS) are devoted to the storage, retrieval, distribution, and presentation of images. The medical images are stored in an independent format, most commonly DICOM. Synonyms: Picture Archiving Communication ... More. According to the discussion, this can be accomplished by providing a URL via the portal. Security is guaranteed because patients have to set up a temporary password with the ability to customize settings such as how long a link is active. Once accessed, patients can burn a CD of the studies on their home computer.

The Need to Stand Out From the Competition

The accountable care model and a focus on healthcare costs have really forced changes on radiology clinics, according to the group. Members of the group reported that things have become much more competitive at the same time that the volume of patients has decreased significantly. Because of these changes, radiology practices are consolidating. Those with 30 or fewer physicians will have to decide to expand or consolidate with another group to stay in business.

Increased patient volume is the main reason radiology practices are able to remain profitable. According to members of the group, radiology practices have to stand out from the competition by offering the referring community services unavailable anywhere else. One way many in the group have been able to stand out is by offering an integrated solution, which is an advantage to referring hospitals because they do not have to change or alter their workflows to send referrals or order tests. The easier radiology clinics can connect with hospitals and health systems, the greater the chance they can maintain — and even increase — patient volume. 

 

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