New app boosts radiologists’ productivity

By Bernie Monegain
10:13 AM

Radiologists at Saint Anthony Hospital in Chicago are using a new application that has enabled them to go paperless and increase overall productivity by 20 percent.

Integrated Modular Systems, Inc. (IMSI), an InterSystems application partner, developed the new app that Cambridge, Mass.-based Intersystems touts as “breakthrough.” Created with the InterSystems Ensemble platform for connectable applications, imsiVOICE-Interactive has made the radiologists work easier.

Cutting complexity
The typical diagnostic radiologist's workflow, which requires interaction with multiple applications, can be extremely complicated, says Mark Jundanian, MD, chairman of the Medical Imaging Department at St. Anthony Hospital. Images flowing in from picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) must be matched to work requests that are generated from a radiology information system (RIS). After analyzing the images, radiologists dictate a report, review results and route the information back to the requester, often via a completely separate system. The fact that radiologists generally work on dozens of cases each day that originate from different information sources adds another layer of workflow complexity.

"I had some ideas of how to improve the workflow and began discussions with IMSI," said Jundanian.

"Mark came to us with a vision of what he wanted a radiology reporting system to do, which was to control the entire reporting workflow from a single interface,” says IMSI President John Mazur. “We were using Ensemble because of its rapid development capabilities, fast response and overall robustness and Saint Anthony was using IMSI's hosted RIS interfaced with its internal PACS application. We provided connectivity to those systems via HL7 and DICOM, and added an interface to our wireless digital dictation system."

The imsi VOICE-Interactive solution that emerged from that development process uses InterSystems Ensemble to connect images from the PACS to current work requests and patient information from the RIS, as well as attaching audio files from the dictation system, which are routed to medical transcribers. After the report is reviewed and approved by the radiologist, it is routed back to the clinician who submitted the original work request.

"We went live with imsi VOICE-Interactive with OneList in January of this year," said Jundanian. "Fourteen radiologists have been trained on the product and everyone is very pleased." The Ensemble-based system "is vastly more efficient than our previous system. Regardless of case status or the number of cases in process, the radiologist is presented with the appropriate current clinical data when he reads the case.”

"We don't have to wait for paperwork,” said Jundanian. “We can click through to historical images in the case record right from the screen. The system substantially improves report turnaround time. Emergency department cases, for example, are completed within the hour. Implementing the IMSI solution has enabled us to manage our workflow more effectively than ever before as we've moved to an interactive paperless environment."

The reduction in turnaround time benefits the provider organization as well as each radiologist, according to Jundanian. "The application reduces the chance of a significant error, and thus improves patient safety. As a result, there is a positive impact on care delivery and the satisfaction of referring physicians is significantly increased.”

"IMSI's Ensemble-based application addresses a workflow issue that has plagued radiologists and healthcare provider organizations for years," said Matt Nee, InterSystems vice president of North American sales.