The Importance of Analytics Reporting in Imaging
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The Importance of Analytics Reporting in Imaging

Imaging analytics and informatics are hot topics in radiology. However, many overworked imaging departments often find they’re too busy to utilize these tools to their full potential. But now, as artificial intelligence and enterprise imaging continue to become an area of growth and interest, radiology administrators are realizing the need for tools that can track and improve workflow issues. These same tools can also improve quality outcomes in tandem with the move to value-based healthcare models.

There is a great deal of buzz around artificial intelligence and how it can assist radiologists to read images more quickly and reduce reading errors. But if images need to be repeated multiple times on the front end due to inexperienced or untrained techs, it can throw a wrench in the workflow process. The patient is also at risk due to additional, unnecessary, and repeated exposures. In addition, errors on the front end can lead to a lack of productivity and increased patient wait times.

How analytics can help improve workflow

For those departments that can’t afford a more sophisticated enterprise PACS system, an imaging analytics reporting tool can be a valuable IT solution to gather and evaluate data. Analytics software can provide statistical information that includes reason for exam reject/repeat, patient dose management, exam type, exam length, machine used, and volumes by tech, department, and patient. This data can provide many benefits such as identifying areas of improvement, additional training opportunities, and insights into departmental productivity.

From a business standpoint, the data can also help radiology administrators better manage daily operational resources. Instant access to trending data enables them to manage their workflow process by increasing staff during the busiest times and reducing staff when exam volumes tend to be lower. This is also extremely useful for centers that may have more than one location and can schedule patients to sites with the shortest wait times. This can greatly improve patient satisfaction.

How analytics can help patients

By providing radiation dose management tools, imaging analytics offers a historical record of the patient’s radiation exposure, including what type of exam and what part of the body was imaged. This can help a treating physician determine whether the patient needs additional images, or the existing data is sufficient to make a diagnosis. This can reduce the patient’s exposure risk.

Whether the imaging department is part of a large health system or a small clinic, analytics are becoming a necessary part of the daily workflow process to improve critical decision-making and enhance the patient experience.

MD Buyline tracks several imaging vendors that offer analytics software and tools to assist administrators in evaluating all areas of departmental workflow, including quality assurance, performance management, asset management, and productivity. While adding an analytics subscription or software isn’t always in the budget, the data provided could be well worth the investment in the long run.

Julie Johnson, Analyst

Prior to joining MD Buyline in 2008, Julie Johnson worked in account management, accounting, and financial planning.