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SIIM 2016 session targets a higher-functioning radiology reading room

by John W. Mitchell , Senior Correspondent
The SIIM committee in charge of selecting scientific presentations at the SIIM annual conference in Portland last week paid tribute to an observation made by Bill Moyer: “Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” Five team leaders made presentations on their work to make time spent in the reading room more efficient.

“We have increasing workloads and decreasing compensation,” Dr. Adam Kaye, M.D., MBA, CIIP of Advanced Radiology Consultants, Fairfield Connecticut, commented in the introduction, to explain the rationale behind the session.

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-A Framework for Automatic Detection of Relevant Prior Imaging Studies: Dehgan M. Ehsan, Ph.D., Philips Healthcare - This presentation discussed changing work flow to save radiologists time searching for the most recent imaging study baseline. He characterized this process as “tedious and time-consuming.” The solution is automated detection, which was covered in the presentation.

-Dynamic Workload Gauge and Workload Balancing System to Help Practices Optimize Performance and Improve Quality: Rick Deeds, Director of IT, Columbus Radiology – He presented results of a workflow redesign that emphasizes team reading workloads rather than individual workloads. The practice developed a new system for a “dynamically changing workload goal” that differs from an RVU approach. The new system eliminates reading “cherry picking” by the radiologists, and improves turn-around times. Since adopting the new system, performance has improved and radiologists better understand what is expected of them each day.

-Geisinger Radiology Connect: Outside Reading Approach: Brian Manney, Technical Analyst - Geisinger discussed their experience setting up a proprietary image interpretation service for two non-Geisinger facilities. Their approach allowed Geisinger to offer a solution to other regional providers without any electronic health record or radiology information systems being extended outside their walls. This “zero footprint” solution improved regional outcomes, fostered good relations with other hospitals and improved patient satisfaction.

-Utilizing Structured Reporting to Increase the Number of Reports Correctly Coded: Morgan McBee, M.D., University of Cincinnati Medical Center - McBee presented his experience in making their conversion from ICD-9 to ICD-10 diagnosis codes. He noted the October 1, 2015 conversion date resulted in a more than fourfold increase in codes from 13,000 under ICD-9 to 60,000 codes under ICD-10. In a detailed analysis that included numerous charts and graphs, McBee detailed how the imaging department went about reducing unspecified reports through better documentation. This resulted in a reduction of unspecified reports from 43 percent to 26 percent, which was “comparable” to the same measure under ICD-9.

-Variation of Reading Times for Radiologists Over Different Examination Types: Daniel Forsberg, Ph.D., Sectra, Research Scientist - This study conducted at the University Hospitals in Cleveland found that each radiologist has strengths and weaknesses in reading time and other efficiencies. By tracking these variations, a preferred list of radiologists by exam type can be developed to deliver better turnaround times and efficiencies. The degree of variation for time to read and the relative rankings of radiologists has significant implication in workload distribution to improve productivity.

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