To ensure ongoing focus on clinical quality we have dedicated administrative staff that coordinates with our physician leadership to design and maintain peer review and educational requirements. We work closely with our hospital partners to report and refine our efforts in these areas.
Because patient safety is so important, we are dedicated to the development of useful and effective measures to ensure the highest level of care. As such, we have created screening protocols for exams insisting that contrast be used only when necessary.
Additionally, we are developing more stringent protocols for reducing radiation doses throughout the practice, and have worked extensively with our hospital partners to encourage radiation safety. We are passionate about ensuring that patients undergo only the exams that are absolutely necessary and with the smallest risk possible. For those reasons, we created a CT Shielding Recommendation guide to assist our partner hospitals in reaching our goals of the continuous improvement in patient safety.
Specific examples of our collaborative approach to patient safety are our enhanced protocols for stroke alerts and parathyroid imaging patients. Our neuroradiologists are involved in the patient’s stroke care before imaging starts. This assures that the most appropriate imaging is ordered and facilitates rapid interpretation of the patient’s exams. In addition, our physicians are in constant contact with the stroke neurologist and ED physician while the patient is in the department to expedite appropriate care.
Our advanced approach to parathyroid imaging duplicates the angle and anatomy that a surgeon is going to encounter during surgery. This method potentially reduces intraoperative time during neck exploration and also allows for better visualization of complex neck anatomy. This technique increases our sensitivity to find occult disease without artifacts frequently encountered in most protocols. An additional benefit is that radiation dose can be lowered since the focused anatomy is raised above the shoulders, which require higher doses of radiation to obtain imaging of the neck at that level.
We have come a long way in determining the efficacy of lower radiation doses, while upholding image quality and diagnostic accuracy. As we move forward with this work, patients will continue to benefit and our partner hospitals will be able to promote the safety and value that the service line brings to the community.
Our Quality and Values Committee is constantly striving to deliver greater efficiencies and measures for our partner hospitals. Currently, our main area of focus is on the development of structured reports and follow-up recommendations. The end result is a benefit to the patient by improving miss rates, making the reports more easily understood (which leads to fewer miscommunications) and providing quicker diagnoses by increasing radiologist efficiencies.
Below are some additional items that we feel are important in the continuation of providing the best possible care:
- Protocols – Constantly evolving with technology
- Foster and continue to work on relationship building (staff officership, meetings, social gatherings, etc…)
- Communication Models
- Web Radiology Forums – Continuing education
- Attendance at national meetings and sharing among the group
- PQRS Requirements
- After hours services
- Blogging education
Diversified Radiology has teamed with other forward thinking radiology groups dispersed throughout the country to form Strategic Radiology (SR). With the goal of sharing best practices among these groups, SR affords Diversified Radiology tremendous benefits that other local groups simply can’t offer their partner hospitals. Some of these advantages are:
National footprint – SR is comprised of 18 member groups dispersed throughout the country with the common goal of achieving higher quality patient care and more cost efficient delivery of medical imaging services. With more than 1300 radiologists as part of SR, Diversified Radiology has the backing of some of the brightest radiologists in the nation.
“Pure” QA via online networking forums – As a quality and educational initiative, SR physicians routinely collaborate in a robust exchange of ideas amongst participants from across the country.
Patient Safety Organization – SR has recently launched a national PSO aimed at leveraging the collective experience found within SR membership to create a safety organization that can serve as a national model. From their Press Release, SR stated that “This organized and collaborative effort will serve to facilitate the exchange and evaluation of clinical and quality data to help improve patient care in the regional markets served by SR members and beyond.”
Quality improvements will be realized through the identification and reduction of risks and hazards associated with patient care. Being part of a national network of experts focused on the decline of adverse patient events, Diversified Radiology is in a unique position within the region. While PSOs are not entirely new, this is the first one to be established by radiologists.
We are able to leverage our membership status with SR to assist our hospital partners with the development of best practices throughout their radiology departments. Our unguarded relationships with the other member groups of SR allow us to draw from their experiences. This gives us valuable insight as to what to do in almost any situation; how to avoid disastrous results, and more importantly, how to succeed in difficult circumstances.