Radiology departments increase reliance on dashboard technology

Academic radiology departments increasingly are relying on dashboard technology to track all the data they have to deal with on a daily basis.

According to a survey published last week in the Journal of the American College of Radiology--the results of which were first discussed at the 2012 annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America--two-thirds of responding academic radiology departments use digital dashboards to keep track of data such as that associated with revenue, expenses, examination volume and turnaround time. Fifty percent of respondents said that they have utilized dashboard technology for two years or less.

The idea behind computer dashboards is to pull together data from disparate systems--such as a radiology information system, a picture archiving and communication system, or a billing system--to show certain financial or performance metrics. In the presentation at RSNA, lead author, Bahar Mansoori, M.D., of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said that by consolidating such data, radiology decision makers can take action in real time to improve organization efforts.

For the study, the researchers asked respondents what they considered to be the most important performance indicators in three areas: financial, productivity and access. They found that the most important financial indicators were revenue (76 percent), actual expense (73 percent) and days in account receivable (73 percent). The most important performance indicators were total examination volume (81 percent), examination volume by modality (78 percent) and relative value units (73 percent). The most common access indicators were turnaround time (88 percent), backlog (80 percent) and signature time (60 percent).

"Right now in our department, we are using this data to develop the dashboard for ourselves, and monitoring all this data," Mansoori said at RSNA, according to the RSNA Daily Bulletin. "Before the survey, we were not sure what the most important things were. It's not easy to measure everything. There are thousands of things you could monitor in a radiology department."

She went on to say that based on the survey findings, her department was factoring in turnaround time and backlog in its dashboard.

To learn more:
- see the study in the Journal of the American College of Radiology
- read the article in the RSNA Daily Bulletin

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