COVID-19 came, saw, and conquered. Healthcare witnessed its worst nightmare of the 21st century (so far). While frontline healthcare workers were fighting the virus on ground, supportive healthcare services had to go remote. That’s when imaging facilities realized their virtual impairment.
Over the past couple of months, the online search trends for telehealth, remote radiology, and virtual consultations have hit a record high. There has been a significant increase in the adoption of remote and digital tools as imaging facilities brace for the second wave of COVID-19.
However, whether COVID-19 or not, you need a new strategic plan to make your imaging facility efficient and sustainable.
Automate what doesn’t need human intervention
Workflow automation is the first step towards efficiency. Review your existing workflow and identify the tasks that cannot move ahead without your staff’s manual intervention. Aside of these tasks, the rest should be automated. For example, patient appointments reminders can easily be automated instead of having your front desk staff call each patient. Consider investing in an intuitive RIS/PACS software that can be customized to your workflow needs. This would help free up your staff’s time to work on more pressing issues.
Make remote data accessibility possible
A web-based PACS enables your radiologists to read and report from anywhere using an internet-enabled device. Imagine that, at the end of business hours, your imaging facility sends studies to radiologists in a different time zone; when you resume work the next day, the reports will be ready. This reduction in turnaround time will positively impact the response times for patient care. Better still, is having your PACS securely hosted in the cloud. This makes it faster and easier for radiologists to access patient images and also facilitates quick collaboration with referring physicians.
Provide real-time services for patients
Everyone’s time is valuable. If a service does not need your patient to be physically present at your facility, make it available remotely. Virtual consultation is a great example of providing care by bringing healthcare virtually into the patient’s home via video calls. Another example of remote accessibility is having a secure online patient portal where patients can access and share their imaging results with referring physicians. This saves your patients the unnecessary inconvenience of travel and improves their experience.
Practice on-site safety measures
Avoid overcrowding at your facility by smartly managing patient volumes. Send automated reminders to patients for their appointment confirmation. This will help ensure that your facility is booked optimally. In addition, on the day of the imaging exam or consultation, you can advise patients to wait in their vehicle and notify them when it’s time to check in. You could also consider having a self-check in kiosk to minimize physical interaction.
Check out our toolkit of solutions to help your imaging facility operate safely and efficiently for the benefit of your staff, physicians and patients.