Health information systems (such as RIS, EHR & EMR systems) are considered by many to be pillars of modern healthcare institutions. However, at RBMA 2024 PaRADigm, we met a number of radiology leaders who discovered another important pillar: the business operations platform. Where EHR/EMR systems & RIS focus on the management of patient records, a business operations platform focuses on measuring & improving the health of a business, whether it be a practice, center, or department. Part of this discovery came from radiology leaders realizing that the manual, laborious methods used for gathering business intelligence were not efficient enough to keep pace with increasing patient volumes.

Measuring Business Performance

It’s no secret that Excel is a widely used tool for calculations, and in this case, the tracking and measurement of business health. Whether it’s used for gauging physician performance, measuring modality volume by site, or reconciling financials, few will disagree that the process of gathering and calculating this information is an arduous process. In fact, during a previous attendance of SIIM23, one attendee shared that they spend an average of 40 hours per month to prepare Excel reports about modality performance across multiple sites.

Meanwhile, a few of our visitors shared that they have implemented data warehouse solutions to centralize business data. This type of solution requires ongoing support from 1) IT for system maintenance and 2) analysts to interpret the business data into business intelligence. Not only can this be a taxing exercise for the organization, it can still result in outdated business analysis due to required times to prepare the report. Furthermore, data visualization software has its strengths (with or without a data warehouse), but may be limited by who can use them (e.g., expertise, licenses, etc.)

A Dedicated Radiology Business Solution

A business operations platform is built from the bottom up for a specific purpose, which is to report on and improve business performance – especially one built for radiology. During our time at PaRADigm, we demoed Foundations™ (our radiology business operations platform) to booth visitors so they could see first-hand how it was developed for radiology businesses; e.g., use of radiology nomenclature, user interface created for radiology professionals, and access based on radiology staff roles. Compare this with the beforementioned tools; they were designed with a variety of use cases in mind, thereby making the experience of using them more generalized and less specific in nature.

Radiology professionals can also expect other capabilities from a radiology business operations platform. The first is automated, real-time clinical, financial, and operational analytics that are actionable; this presents the opportunity to see how the business is performing right now (rather than a few days, or weeks, ago) so same-day changes can be made. The second is relevant reporting based on roles; one data set may be used to create a multitude of staff reports, where staff sees information that is most important to them (e.g., order information may be presented differently to radiologists, technologists, and PSRs). The third is that it should provide business improvement capabilities beyond analytics, such as (but not limited to) the ability to predict future capacity needs and workflow applications to improve operating efficiency.

Using Actionable Insights to Drive Efficiency and Growth

From measuring modality case load to observing physician performance, our booth visitors are looking for a better way to gauge AND improve the health of their radiology business. They may have a RIS, EHR or EMR system, but many either did not have a platform for managing their business operations health or had tools that fell short in a variety of ways. In other words, they were experiencing the business operations gap. However, with a radiology business operations platform, they learned how it empowers staff with actionable insights to make meaningful changes to the business in real time. In turn, this can be translated into more efficient workflows. And when actionable insights are paired with more efficient workflows, a recipe for success is created, leading to decreased costs, increased productivity, improved patient care, and boosted profitability. (Note: Thank you to all of our booth visitors during RBMA 2024 PaRADigm!)

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