“When they only had two radiologists assigned, it held up patient discharge through the ER, so to improve that, we moved some resources from other campuses at certain times to help process patients quicker,” says Tseng.
Look at Imaging Utilization
As the bulk of revenue becomes bundled and capitated in risk, hospitals truly become a cost center, says Tseng, and though that trend hasn’t yet fully played out, Tseng says when it does, “everything has to be more efficient.”
Radiology can play a key role in reducing costs through the quality and turnaround time on their reads, in making sure expensive tests aren’t repeated, and in helping the hospital reduce length of stay.
“Post-surgical follow up requires several images and if they don’t have their act together and it takes them a day and a half to do reads, we just added another half day or another day in length of stay,” Tseng says. “And it’s not just about turnaround, but quality, in whether hospitalists or specialists can get key recommendations. Radiology can be a strong tool for physicians to make decisions behind.”
What’s unique about the partnership with the 600-physician radiology practice, says Tseng, is that their governance model is locally led. Local departments have the ability and autonomy to make decisions without having to go through several layers of bureaucracy.
For example, Memorial City’s radiologists have developed key clinical recommendations on thyroid nodules and abdominal aneurysms, and have standardized reporting procedures.
“Before, every radiologist interpreted differently. Now that they’ve streamlined and use similar styles to save time, referring physicians don’t have to dig through seven pages of detail,” says Tseng. “That’s been helpful.”
Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.