With the shortage of radiologists and the increasing demand for accurate diagnostic interpretations by Emergency Departments within hospitals, teleradiology is growing within hospital settings. Facilities are turning to teleradiology services to help staff members cover shifts outside of their 9-5 weekday working hours, and are able to provide constant radiology coverage for hospitals. These radiologists are able to examine medial scans, review and interpret them, and construct interpretation reports that hospitals can then use to treat patients. Because this is a remote process, these reports are most commonly scanned and sent back to hospitals in the form of a fax.
While a need in 24/7 patient care has been addressed with constant teleradiologists available to interpret scans, the method by which the hospital receives and documents the interpretation is often cumbersome. Due to the use of dated fax technology, ED physicians are required to wait for the fax, take the fax document and type in the findings manually into the electronic record.
In addition to this manual process, hospitals frequently deal with unreliable issues that are intrinsic to the use of fax within a diagnostic process, including faxes not being received, going to the wrong place, or simply not working. Having to conduct this process for each patient for each x-ray, CT, and MRI doubles the work for the treating physician, who must document these radiology result interpretations. In addition to these general perils, there are issues with quality assurance, as wet reads often differ from final reads, but don’t make it into the medical record. This can lead to a decrease in quality of care as physicians can’t make informed decisions, as well as lowers patient satisfaction, as they experience longer wait times and throughput delays.
When several Forerun clients submitted enhancement requests to remove this 3rd party faxing service and integrate the radiology interpretations directly with the hospital’s EMR system, we were able to successfully work with the hospital’s third-party vendor to streamline their radiology interpretation process. Now, ED physicians – whom we know desire as much fast, real-time data as possible, are able to log into the FlexChart Patient View and see immediately radiology reads coming in from their remote teleradiology services.
The physician chairman from one of our facility hospital’s emergency departments discussed the tremendous benefits to both patient and provider:
“What we were able to do in our partnership with Forerun was automate the process by first giving us timely reports that were now embedded within the documentation. Second, we were finally able to perform QA on wet reads and make them part of the medical record."
Read more on the process and strategy for getting these hospitals off of faxes and phone calls to their remote teleradiology services by downloading the full teleradiology case study below.