Quality Corner, v2.3
Improving Outcomes, Reducing Variability, & Increasing Quality
In ancient Roman times, all roads led to Rome. From one monument in central Rome, all roads began and distances were measured. Today, the patient is at the center of care—with success measured in wellness, improved outcomes, reduced variability, increased quality and higher patient engagement and patient satisfaction scores.
The roads of healthcare are busy with healthcare professionals, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses and technologists carefully and diligently driving patient care. But across the globe, roadblocks abound, along with potholes, poor signage, information barriers and a lot of breakdowns in care. Accountability for value should be shared among the providers involved. Thus, rather than ‘focused factories’ concentrating on narrow groups of interventions, we need integrated practice units that are accountable for the total care for a medical condition and its complications.”
Clinical studies have long proven that patient pathways that place the patient at the center of care reduce variability in clinical practice, improve outcomes and reduce cost. The idea is to focus on the patient’s overall journey rather than the contribution of each specialty or caring function independently. Multispecialty physicians and caregivers must work together in teams. Radiology plays the key role of jumping in to investigate disease–diagnosing, staging, monitoring and following it over time and offering expertise and consultation on disease states. This discipline is now in a stage of profound metamorphosis.
- Decentralizing radiology, becoming part of the department their specialty complements.
- Looking at each patient and disease as a whole picture, sharing information and knowledge with multidisciplinary teams, grasping the full problem and, together, treating the patient.
- Getting out from behind the monitor and going to see physicians and patients.
Radiology must be a core piece of the team centered on the patient, be more integrated in terms of exchanging patient information and images. Be more valuable, more visible. That means being very fast to doctor and patient needs, with richer and conclusive reports as well as advice.
Radiology plays the key role of jumping in to investigate disease—diagnosing, staging, monitoring and following it over time and offering expertise and consultation on disease states.
The patient in the center. Better decisions are clearly what patients want, too. Patients who are more informed on their disease state demand more information and often more interaction with their physicians, even asking for specific imaging exams. The team approach is the way to go—provided the team is equipped with access to full patient information, from as many sources as possible
Innovation stands at the center of change in radiology. Like the experts say, radiology must continually create ways to support other physicians and healthcare systems as they pave the way to wellness and keeping populations healthy. Care must revolve around the patient, with radiology, often a patient’s first stop along the road to diagnosis and treatment, taking the first step to facilitate effective and swift interpretation and communication. Think improved outcomes, reduced variability and increased quality. “Patient pathways and better outcomes: The Future of Radiology” October 15, 2014 Mary C. Tierney, Vice President & Chief Content Officer of Health Imaging