Parag Paranjpe, founder and CEO of HealthLevel, shares insights into how customer conversations led to the development of Foundations™‘ radiology protocoling solution.

Having been through a few imaging exams as a patient, from basic X-rays to CT & MRI, I never imagined what went on inside the radiology department once a referral was sent over. However, as I was walking through a customer’s radiology department and learning about their challenges with EHR workflows and manual effort (Note: I love doing that, but that story is for another time), the customer asked me, “Can you add a small widget in the UI so we can capture new information in the referral (radiology order)?” I was intrigued, but this was not the first time a customer had requested, “Can you build something for us?”

So, we talked more. As I listened, I learned that their solution (at that time) for determining the best imaging protocol for the patient condition was inefficient and sometimes insufficient for their objective – which is to provide the safest and highest quality imaging for the patient.

We had an engineer coming out of a project, and I asked, “Hey, do you think we can build something like this? But if it works, it will likely be applicable to a larger customer base. I cannot imagine this is the only customer that has this problem.”

What started as a simple request, “Please help us with a few data capture comment boxes”, turned out to be a set of powerful workflow solutions that help improve imaging quality & safety with a significant increase in efficiency. First, a radiology order starts at the referral (that goes into the EMR/RIS). Next, an appointment is made with the appropriate imaging protocol and then nothing happens until the day of the procedure. Efficient protocoling has a significant impact on saving time and money – plus, it improves quality & safety by giving consideration to the ordered procedure & patient conditions (e.g., allergies, lab results, and prior imaging). The result of appropriate protocoling is felt by radiologists, technologists, and schedulers – everyday. The results show up in many examples, such as 1) time taken from referral to make an appointment, 2) reduced referral leakage, and 3) improved scheduling efficiency. Time is money. One scheduler told us, “I’m not kidding. My outbound calls per day have more than doubled, from 25 to over 50. And it’s all because of the ability to get this information in one place! No more running around chasing techs or radiologists.”

The solution’s design matters a lot. In developing Foundations™’ protocoling solution, we learned some lessons, but what we delivered in the first iteration was far better than the status quo. And we continued to work with our customers to improve it. Adding basic defaults like standing orders, including features like machine learning to recommend a protocol based on history, and being strategic about the screen’s layout of information continues to have a big impact on operational efficiency and patient safety.

We love spending time with our customers: observing, listening, and coming up with incremental experiments that have a big impact. One of those results is Foundations™’ protocoling solution. It is an invaluable tool for the right audience. Does everyone protocol radiology orders/referrals for complex CT and MRI cases? Apparently not. There are economics and radiologist workflows involved in this matter. That is a topic for another day: economic aspects of radiology workflows and outcomes.

HealthLevel develops software solutions that address radiology business problems. HealthLevel’s flagship product, Foundations™, is a radiology business operations platform that combines clinical, financial, and operational data to paint a complete picture of a business’s operations. Its analytics engage every team member to confidently take actions that improve productivity and increase the bottom line. Learn more.

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