We have already mentioned problems arising from double data entry. The main issues are time expenditures and high risk of human error, as well as the need for duplicating and synchronizing databases, which may be a costly affair. In one of our previous articles, we discussed how DICOM Modality Worklist can help to transfer patient information from a scheduling or dispatching system to a diagnostic machine. However, the connection between your scheduling service and diagnostic equipment is just a single link in your IT infrastructure. This time we will look at the situation through a broader lens and talk about how integrated healthcare solutions can help to eliminate the problem completely.
Let’s suppose you run a diagnostic imaging business, and you do it in a rather conservative way. Then your workflow is probably similar to the following.
First, you obtain patients’ information: demographics (age, sex, etc.), required studies, date and time of service, the referring doctor’s name, and then you pass this information to scheduling or dispatching software, where study orders are created. At this stage, you are likely to enter data manually, which is quite common.
Then you need to pass these orders to the diagnostic equipment of various modalities (X-ray, ultrasound, etc.). If you are using Modality Worklist, which is correctly configured, the data will be transmitted flawlessly. Otherwise, imaging technologists will have to re-enter all the patient information manually, which may lead to additional errors and affect the quality of their work (we should bear in mind that medical imaging is a very technologist-dependent industry).
When the studies are completed, images are sent to a PACS. There are several reasons for using web-based PACS, you might have read about them on our blog. The images include patient information for identification in the PACS.
The next stage is reading, or image interpretation. The images are passed to a RIS (Radiology Information System), where the reading doctor analyzes them and creates a report on each study.
Having finalized the reports, the reading doctor sends them to a Health Information System (HIS). Depending on the degree of HIS integration into your IT infrastructure, the patient data may be sent automatically or entered manually once again (it has been already entered twice, so this is the third time).
After that, the reports can be received by the referring physician.
That’s what it looks like. You may have gotten used to this workflow, but even if all of your sonographers and technologists are flawless in data entry and never make mistakes, you would probably agree that this workflow lacks efficiency. You may hire the most skilled medical specialists, and still steadily lose revenue just because their skills are underused.
Your business may employ multiple standalone services and still suffer from mistakes arising from the data re-entry. The primary cause is the lack of integration of all these tools.
If you are thinking about streamlining your workflow, then full-featured software might be of interest to you. It may be designed as a module-based application. Such software applications put together all the stages of your workflow and offer multiple advantages – and minimizing data re-entries is just one of them. Once you have entered the patient’s information, it will be transmitted to the following stages or just stored in the system, so that you could quickly retrieve it at any time.
If your PACS server is integrated with a HIS/RIS system, scheduling service, and appropriately configured diagnostic equipment, it is possible to transfer patient demographics directly from patient records. Then your sonographers and X-ray technologists will not have to re-enter any patient data on their machines.
[#18822] Technologists can clock in and out via web browser
To enable this functionality, an enterprise administrator should click “Admin” → “Terminals” and create a new terminal record with the “Kiosk technologist time tracking module” option. Then your technologists (i.e. users with a technologist link) will be able to go to <yourdomain>.emsow.com/kiosk and check in at referring facilities that they are visiting to work with patients. After they are done working, the technologists should go to the same address and check out.
To track working hours of your technologists, go to “Accounting” → “Technologists Time Tracking.”
[#18791] Copy address from “Nursing home” type referring facilities
We have increased the automation of data entry. Now you can copy the address of a referring facility to service records if the referring facility is a nursing home (i.e., its PoS code is 32). To use this feature, go to the Processing module, click Add or Edit, and click on the “Copy address from ref. facility” link.
EMSOW PACS Bridge update
EMSOW PACS Bridge has been updated to version 1.2.319.0ed142. The new version allows you to view DICOM images right after you transfer them from your diagnostic unit, and includes stability improvements.
Enter a note on removing a settings record
When a user removes a settings record such as a reading or billing rule, EMSOW will prompt the user to enter a note to describe a reason for removing it. We hope this will prevent accidental removals and make it easier for our support team to restore mistakenly removed records.
Automatically reassign reading providers in case of reading delay
If a reading doctor or facility fails to upload a report for a study in due time (as specified in the Reading Times module), the study can be automatically reassigned to another reading provider. To use this feature, you need to configure reading rules. Simply create a new reading rule and add the option “Use to reassign a reading provider in case of reading delay” to conditions of the rule. Then, this rule will be applied in case a reading delay occurs, and the study will be sent to a new reading doctor or facility specified in the rule. Accordingly, the study will be removed from the physician portal of the previous reading provider who will also receive an email notification informing them that the interpretation order has been canceled (provided that an email address is configured in EMSOW for the doctor or facility).
Study priority in DICOM tags
When sending studies to an external reading facility, you can now also transfer a study priority value (routine, ASAP, STAT). To that end, we have added an option to patch DICOM metadata with the study priority value. In order to use this feature, select the Study priority checkbox in the Send options tab of the Edit reading facility window. Now your external reading providers will be reliably informed of urgent cases!
Services become “performed” on completing a preliminary report in Rendering
With this update, scheduled services will automatically change their status to performed when a user completes a preliminary report in the Rendering Provider Portal. This will let practitioners upload their notes to EMSOW without asking their administrator to change the status first.
Rendering Provider filter and column in Rendering Provider Portal
We have added a “Rendering Provider” column to the grid in the Rendering Provider Portal. The search filter in the portal now also features a new field to search for services assigned to specific providers. This will make it easier for administrators to track work progress (just a reminder: the providers themselves only see their own services when they log in).
Owners of diagnostic businesses, including those who have many years of experience, often find themselves in doubt about implementing modern technology and going digital. Many of these businesses are long accustomed to their daily workflow and tend to overlook the benefits of innovation. However, they can simplify a lot of routine processes, eliminate numerous errors and considerably boost the bottom line by raising productivity. At first glance, all these modern digital solutions may seem sophisticated, but actually, you just need to take a closer look. Previously we spoke about setting up Modality Worklist (MWL) on Mindray M7. This time we will try to send study queries from this machine to the DICOM server.
First, the queries can be sent manually.
Choosing a patient. Enter the Patient screen by pressing the Patient button. After that, press the Worklist button and the Worklist screen will open. In the upper section, you may see the search criteria: Patient ID, Search Key, Exam Date, Patient Name, Accession Number and Worklist Server.
Here you need to enter the required information in the corresponding fields and click the Query button. The patients who fall under your criteria will appear in the lower section of the screen. Now your machine is connected to the DICOM server, and you can easily update the worklist in real time.
Performing studies. Now let’s try to do a scan. Select a patient in the patient list, then choose his or her record, and click “Start exam.” The machine will import the patient data and begin the study.
Then click the Transfer button, and the patient information will be displayed on the screen.
Edit the patient information, and click OK. Well done! Now proceed to the next study. If you need to view detailed patient data, click “Show Detail” in the lower toolbar.
Not too difficult, is it? But can we make sending the patient queries even more straightforward? Definitely! Let’s see how.
Automatic query function. Orders can be sent automatically via the DICOM server. This is a very useful feature, especially if you contact your referring doctor day-to-day. You will have to set it up first, but once it is done, your equipment will get along and cooperate with the Worklist server on its own. Open the DICOM Service Preset page, then follow the path: Setup – Network Preset – DICOM Service – Worklist. The Worklist page will open.
Select the desired item from the service list, and press the Default button. The Worklist server will be set up as the default service. Enter the Setup menu by clicking “Exit,” then click the “Return” button.
Now open the Patient info page by pressing the “Patient” button. Go to the Worklist screen by clicking “Worklist.”
All set. Now the diagnostic unit automatically queries the studies scheduled for every day. All the scheduled patient records will appear on your worklist.
Our machine is set up and ready to perform its duties. As you see, the system interface is quite user-friendly. However, the key part of your job is being a medical professional. Just hand over routine tasks to the machine to better focus on your patients.