Integrating radiology rooms into clinical areas can provide a number of benefits to referring physicians and patients, and even help reduce the number of unnecessary repeat imaging studies, according to an article in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
Physicians from the radiology and urology departments at NYU Langone Medical Center joined together to install a radiology reading room--staffed by one of six fellowship-trained abdominal radiologists--in a new outpatient urologic oncology clinic. That radiologist was available for consultations during her or her shift, while interpreting imaging studies on the PACS.
Over a five-month period, the onsite radiologist had an average of 1.8 consultations during a three-hour shift. Of those consultations, a little more than half (52 percent) involved cases of outside imaging studies brought to the clinic on disk, while 43 percent were internal cases. Five percent of the consultations were face-to-face meetings with patients.
According to the authors, all of the urologists in the clinic indicated that more than 90 percent of the consultations benefited patient care and that the reading room facilitated increased review of outside imaging studies, which potentially reduced duplicate ordering.
"Ultimately, we are demonstrating a fairly simple operational initiative that had clear benefit to our referring clinicians and patients," lead author Andrew Rosenkrantz, M.D., told AuntMinnie.com. "We will be evaluated by our ability to add value, rather than to simply perform and interpret studies, and it is these kinds of communications that can enhance the role of radiologists, not just of radiology per se. We as radiologists need to think broadly of the full spectrum of ways in which we can interact with patients and clinicians, and seek out and take advantage of additional opportunities for contributing to care, beyond image interpretation."
Research published last year in JACR found that introducing reading rooms into clinical areas increases face-to-face time between radiologists and referring physicians, which enhances the radiologist's role as a consultant.
Reading rooms in clinical areas increase face-to-face time with referring docs
Radiologists can take steps to reduce reading room fatigue
Communication key to radiologists' relationships with hospitals, referring docs