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How hassle maps can improve radiology department operations

November 09, 2018
Business Affairs X-Ray
From the November 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The process is over and done within minutes and the transfer more often than not hits the recipient’s bank account the next morning. Although the end result may be the same both ways the process was made simpler and more convenient for all parties involved in the second hassle map. For our practice, the goal was to recognize areas for improvement that would simplify processes and recognize friction areas that could be improved.

There’s a lot yet to be learned in healthcare in the way of meeting patients’ experience expectation. Consumeristic principles are increasingly important for the health of a business as patients have started exercising their purchasing power by selecting providers based on a variety of factors from cost to convenience to experience. That’s why it was imperative for us to begin to identify roadblocks for patients as they interact with our practice and the providers caring for them.

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Plotting our map and getting directions
If there’s anything to take away before you begin your own hassle map, it’s this: Buy-in is crucial from those stakeholders who will be affected by the resulting changes. It makes the transition easier as well as strengthening relationships and instilling trust when the staff feel their voices were taken into consideration.

When beginning the hassle map process, it’s important for everyone to be honest with themselves and each other to identify pain points. Without that, you’re setting the project up for failure by not accurately identifying what needs to be solved.

Therefore, it was important to us that we create a safe place for people to discuss the department issues without fear of being reprimanded. We also asked providers for their feedback to show that we valued their opinions as we restructured our workflow.

Radiology leaders worked for two months to collect feedback. Through this process, 12 unique hassles were identified. Hassles ranged from challenges associated with parking, to difficulty obtaining lab results, to insufficient patient education prior to examination. The hassles were then bucketed into three groups (patients, physicians and staff) and short- and long-term solutions were identified.

Once finalized, the map was shared with everyone so the whole practice understood their feedback was heard and was being addressed.

Mapping out change and why every practice should create hassle maps
Once we identified what was to be done, we got to work. We found an immediate win within our walls. We had identified that navigation for patients to and through the department wasn’t ideal. To help patients find their way to the rooms and places they needed to go to, we color-coded the corridors and installed more directional signs.

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