Improving report turnaround time: an integrated method using data from a radiology information system

AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology
J P CrabbeW W Nye

Abstract

In the face of a changing health care system and increased competition, radiology departments need to become more efficient. One measurement of efficiency is promptness in producing a final report. Many large radiology centers have radiology information systems (RIS) that track work flow, collecting tremendous amounts of data. Most, however, lack an appropriate analytic mechanism. We have developed an integrated system that allows continual monitoring of radiology work flow and thus of opportunities to apply interventions. This system can form an important component of the quality management process in the radiology department. In developing the system, we identified seven key steps in the work-flow process. When left to chance, these steps occur out of sequence and large delays occur. A scheme was devised to improve the sequencing of the work flow by using the data collected from the RIS, sorted by radiology division and patient type. Biweekly, the appropriate data file is transferred to each division for analysis, via the department's computer network. A one-step process follows, using desktop Macintosh computers and a custom program written in Microsoft Excel. Extracted data are quickly converted into a tailored division sum...Continue Reading

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