Case Studies

Being a radiologist today can feel a bit like being on the Starship Enterprise: you have all these Star-Trek-like tools at your disposal – devices and applications with the ability to produce incredibly sophisticated digital images and insights that we couldn’t have imagined even twenty years ago. This technology and advanced visualization capabilities have fundamentally changed the way we obtain important diagnostic information and provide value for patients. But the reality is, it gets lonely in space. Behind this technology are people – and people still seek a meaningful human exchange, especially patients undergoing potentially stressful imaging exams. The irony of our situation is that, for all of us humans in the imaging spaceship, technology has become a barrier to meaningful care, even as the images that technology helps us acquire wield unprecedented clinical value.

For small rural hospitals such as McCurtain Memorial Hospital in Idabel, Okla., an on-staff radiologist is a luxury. After losing its single in-house radiologist, the facility floated between several different teleradiology providers before finally landing on vRad—largely due to vRad’s strong breast health portfolio.

The radiology job market has had its fair share of ups and downs, as one can see by simply scanning the last 15 years of data from Merritt Hawkins, a popular physician search firm. In 2003, radiology was the No. 1 most requested search assignment at Merritt Hawkins. The top of the mountain in terms of demand. That period also marked a huge increase in the supply of radiologists as both medical students and residents liked the specialty’s high quality of life as well as its potential for high earnings.

Once considered some of the most contractually stable and fiscally secure practitioners in all of U.S. medicine, radiologists are today concerned about their very future—and more than a few are right to be worried. From nosediving reimbursement to successive consolidation, from constantly expanding technologies to fitfully pinballing policymaking, the pressures have been varied and unrelenting for years now. What’s more, the pace of change is even now only accelerating. How best to rise to this moment with realistic hopes of emerging stronger than ever?

Prioritizing patient comfort and satisfaction may be a hot topic among policy makers in today’s healthcare environment, but it’s nothing new for the healthcare providers who spend most of their time working directly with them. Radiology technologists like me have always known the vital role of a positive patient experience in creating clinical value for patients. In my role supervising MRI technologists at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, I’m made aware every day of the importance of providing a calming, supportive environment for our young patients and their families.

Pure Storage is a data storage company based out of Mountain View, Calif., that specializes in cloud-based, analytics-focused solutions such as FlashBlade, which offers companies petabytes of capacity with no caching or tiering.

Pure Storage is a data storage company based out of Mountain View, Calif., that specializes in cloud-based, analytics-focused solutions such as FlashBlade, which offers companies petabytes of capacity with no caching or tiering.

Pure Storage is a data storage company based out of Mountain View, Calif., that specializes in cloud-based, analytics-focused solutions such as FlashBlade, which offers companies petabytes of capacity with no caching or tiering.

The shift to value-based care is looking like less of a transition and more of a reality for imaging departments.

At Akron Children’s Hospital, the road to fully realized patient-centered care for kids leads to a scenario in which all patient information—including consent forms, admissions documents, diagnostic images and multimedia files—is readily accessible through the facility’s EHR.

If your hospital or healthcare system is like most others in the U.S. today, you have an EHR that’s proving expensive to maintain while working well below its potential for centralized, cost-saving image sharing. You’re fretting over non-DICOM images acquired with smartphones and insecurely siloed in numerous clinical departments. And you’re also talking a lot about enterprise imaging (EI) as a way to broach both those touchy topics and a host of others.

The imaging staff at Androscoggin Valley Hospital (AVH) in Berlin, N.H., knew the time had come to up their x-ray game when their 11-year-old computed radiography (CR) system began needing new imaging plates and maintenance. What they didn’t know was how fast, easy and cost-effective it could be to upgrade to superior digital radiography (DR) just by investing in the right DR detectors. In 2015, following comprehensive research, that’s exactly what they did.