Docs want shorter turnaround times for radiology studies

Physicians would like to see easier procedures for ordering radiology studies, shorter report turnaround times, and an efficient and secure method for notification of critical methods, according to a new report from Shelton, Conn.-based medical imaging vendor Sectra.

A total of 150 U.S. neurologists, neurosurgeons, urologists, orthopedists, internists, and general surgeons were surveyed to see what they required from general radiology. More than 72 percent pointed to effective notification of critical results as a big concern. Additionally, 60 percent of respondents said that the use of 3-D visualization tools was important for improved result communication.

Improving scheduling procedures was a priority as well, with 69.4 percent ranking it important or very important. The respondents expressed concerns about their inability to schedule studies for certain times, scheduling important studies quickly, getting patients scheduled for exams in a timely fashion, and scheduling exams with specific radiologists.

Providing shorter turnaround times also was considered to be important by most respondents. Specifically, physicians are concerned by their inability to reach radiologists in real time, as well as the challenges of speaking with them directly. Mobile devices, such as tablets, were mentioned as a possible remedy to those problems.

Earlier this year, at the European Society of Radiologists' expo, Osman Ratib, chair of the department of medical imaging at the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland, specifically pointed out how tablets are rapidly changing the game radiologists.

"These tablets now have quite powerful CPUs [central processing units] on board so that you can load both the data and the program," Ratib said. "Memory is growing, and every time you have bigger and bigger amounts of storage space, so they are becoming almost as powerful as a laptop computer."

Docs aren't the only ones who want improved turnaround times; patients, according to recently published research in the American Journal of Roentgenology want the same thing. Discussing the results of medical imaging exams with radiologists was something patients were open to, according to the study.

For more:
- here's are the survey results (.pdf)

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