The key to a successful radiology practice is to maintain strong data integrity. When you compare struggling radiology practices today, poor data integrity is a common deficiency. One of their greatest challenges is sending reports to the referring physicians in a consistent manner. They have trouble with access control and workflow efficiency, all due to poor data integrity. Successful radiology practices, on the other hand, understand and implement strict policies and procedures to ensure strong data integrity. As a result, they are able to run an efficient, automated workflow that allows them to thrive.
Here are three ways your organization can take control of your data to ensure a high level of integrity across your entire environment.
1. Take Advantage of Opportunities to Normalize Data Points
The best time to cleanse your data is before it actually enters your system. For many organizations, this means cleansing your data at the router/broker level. As data is sent from the modalities into the router/broker, take the opportunity to normalize the Issuer of Patient ID, Imaging Facility, Study Status, and so on before forwarding that data on to your central PACS. Look for opportunities to leverage field mapping to move DICOM tag values, from one tag to another, to clean up the data as it enters your system. Custom scripts can also be used to perform more advanced data cleansing procedures such as removing any integer values from a patient’s name. Be creative and think of ways inaccurate data is entering your system and how to avoid it.
2. Implement a QC Step in Your Workflow
Automated tools are wonderful to help ensure data integrity, but let’s not eliminate all human intervention from the equation. QC Technologists and Support Staff can have a major impact on the quality of your data as it moves through the system. A quick verification of patient and study information, between the completion of the study at the modality and when the radiologist begins interpretation, can significantly improve data quality and ultimately, patient care. This gives the QC Technologist or Support Staff a chance to resolve any patient conflicts, study merges, or image tweaks before the radiologist picks up the study to read. If you are not currently utilizing a QC step in your workflow, you may be surprised at the increase in data integrity and radiologist satisfaction you’ll find in return for the small increase in turnaround time.
3. Increase Workflow Automation
New and exciting technology continues to be introduced to the radiology industry, allowing for a more streamlined and automated workflow. But faster turnaround times are not the only prize for implementing these automated tools. Data integrity is also strengthened as a practice’s workflow becomes more automated.
One way to automate workflow is to eliminate duplicate points of data entry by moving to a single-platform system. Built-in modules such as scheduling, radiologist reporting tools, physician portals, and management report modules, can reduce the potential for data loss or inconsistency. Emerging technology such as Direct messaging for radiology orders and report distribution can help reduce duplicate data entry and manual processes that can lead to discrepancies. Remember that each workflow step you are able to automate will be a step toward stronger and more reliable data in your system.
Talk to our experts today to learn more about RamSoft’s single-database workflow solution and how it would benefit your radiology practice.
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