由 John W. Mitchell
, Senior Correspondent | November 12, 2018
From the November 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
A number of these issues could be solved by greater collaboration between radiologists and patients; more face time to talk about what’s happening and what it means. And while an improvement to these relationships might be foretold by the growth of AI and sophisticated informatics, the truth is that many radiologists at the front lines today simply don’t have time.
During last year’s RSNA meeting, two radiologists published a study in the journal Radiology where they highlighted this challenge. HCB News checked in with the lead author to see how patient centricity had progressed since then.
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“In the past year radiologists have continued to improve their patient focus,” Dr. Jennifer Kemp, vice president of Diversified Radiology of Colorado (DROC), told HCB News. “More and more radiologists are sharing stories on ACR Imaging 3.0 as well as ACR Engage Open Forum about what they are doing to become more patient-centered. Also, both the RSNA and ACR published a Patient-Centered Resident Curriculum this year.”
While reimbursements are increasingly linked to quality metrics tied to patient satisfaction, Kemp stressed that these behaviors also yield benefits to physicians as well, with studies showing physician/patient relationships at least somewhat mitigate burnout.
At DROC, Kemp and her colleagues have introduced a program in which patients are given direct results of lung cancer screening exams via conference call. The process consists of a review of images with the radiologist on a remote workstation minutes after their screening exam. The radiology group has also started a pilot program for patients who seem particularly anxious. Every morning for two hours, the CT and ultrasound technologists offer immediate scan interpretation to such patients.
“The result is that patients are grateful. Radiologists feel more rewarded and part of the care team, thus, less burnout – and technologists are engaged and empowered,” said Kemp. “There are challenges. Time is always the number one challenge to being patient-centric. So we offer these programs during times of the day that we have the slowest caseload.”
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