Efficiency in radiology systems more crucial than ever

By Fred Bazzoli
12:00 AM

CHICAGO - Healthcare organizations are under the gun to increase efficiency and optimize investments in radiological systems, as price reductions for outpatient diagnostic services become the norm.

Information systems, and a variety of diverse services, are being touted as approaches to help providers improve workflow, increase efficiency and make the most of expensive investments in radiological equipment, according to attendees at this year's annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

Vendors also are working toward tighter integration with electronic medical records and other media to maximize returns on those technologies and improve data sharing.

Medicare reimbursement for outpatient diagnostic radiology procedures has been reduced since Jan. 1, 2007 as a result of requirements of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2003. To maintain revenue levels, providers are trying to increase volume, said Joseph Maune, business manager for healthcare information solutions for Carestream Health.

One way to achieve that is to closely tie radiology information systems with picture archiving and communication systems, he said. Carestream products offer options to improve communications with referring physicians and others involved in radiological procedures, including using e-mail and text messaging.