3 Must-Haves to Reduce Silos & Build Collaboration Between Docs

KarenHolzbergerBy Karen Holzberger, VP and General Manager for Diagnostics, Nuance
Twitter: @NuanceHealth

While at RSNA15, a few major themes emerged around reducing silos and building collaboration between care teams. This post outlines three ways to accomplish this.

Thousands of leaders in radiology gathered in Chicago last week to discuss innovations in the industry at the 101st Radiological Society of North America’s (RSNA) annual meeting. Conversations focused on reducing silos and the importance of entire healthcare teams joining together to deliver better patient care. Here are three “must haves” to advance the cause.

1.  Putting decisions back into the hands of clinical experts – This means taking it out of the hands of payers or Radiology Benefits Managers who are determining patients care pathways based on a patient’s insurance coverage.

Over the past 25 years, the practice of medicine and specialized technologies have rapidly advanced, and government and payer requirements have made it increasingly difficult for clinicians to determine the proper diagnostic test for each patient. Not only does this cause frustration among physicians, it also frustrates patients who may be told they should have an imaging exam only to hear that it will not be reimbursed from their insurance plan or is not warranted after all. Inconsistencies from provider-to-provider, health system to health system or case-to-case needs to stop now.

Clinical guidance can eradicate much of this variability, put the decisions back in the hands of the clinicians and tighten connections between physicians on all sides of the patient. For example, leveraging tools like ACR Select™ within the CPOE, referring physicians are now guided to order the most clinically-accurate exams for patients based on clinical appropriateness evidence and guidelines. This decision support eliminates guesswork, and ensures the highest quality care for patients. Likewise, today radiologists can use ACR guidelines embedded into their diagnostic reporting workflow in Nuance PowerScribe 360 to ensure “incidental findings” discovered on a patient are consistently reported so follow up testing is consistent and handled the right way.

2.  Making a personal interaction  Sometimes there is nothing better than old-school human contact. A conversation between ordering physicians and radiologists was the foundation of patient “rounds” in years past, and during this interaction, both clinicians would agree to the best course of care for each patient. With the advent of electronic health records, these physicians often seem miles apart — one working in EHRs all day and the other communicating through PACS, RIS and radiology reporting platforms. Now just like instant messaging or secure texting, technology can help foster communication between ordering physicians and radiologists as a real-time consult, bringing personal interaction between these physicians back to the decision making process and out of the hands of payers or non-clinicians. This delivers a clear path of care quickly and efficiently, eliminates phone tag, and offers personal communication between ordering docs and a trusted radiology advisor who can help them order the right exam and deliver the right care for patients.

  3.  Providing access to prior exams One thing widely discussed at RSNA15, was pushing information farther forward in the care process to empower physicians to make the right decisions and eliminate guesswork. One example of this is providing access to a patient’s prior examinations so one physician can see what another has done. One of the easiest ways to reduce repeat examinations and spiraling healthcare costs is to help physicians see “priors” (previous exams for a patient) directly within their workflow at the point of interpretation. This single action could reduce unnecessary exams by an average of 20% – ultimately, saving hospitals money, increasing efficiency, improving quality of care and reducing patient radiation exposure.

This article was originally published on Nuance’s Blog and is republished here with permission.