Initially, the management team at VHA’s National Teleradiology Program (NTP) relied on retrospective reports and spreadsheets for business planning. The absence of timely data negatively impacted stakeholder collaboration and limited their ability to meet committed business goals. And, with a waiting list of VA medical centers, demand for their high-quality services was only increasing. It soon became evident that it was going to be a challenge to balance high-quality standards and sound financial performance while scaling up service volume.

Improving Business Performance

To monitor its operational performance and adopt continuous improvement practices, NTP adopted and deployed Foundations™, HealthLevel’s radiology business operations platform. HealthLevel worked closely with the NTP team, including its physicians, its operations department, and IT to implement the platform. Within 30 days, they made resource planning available through Foundations™ — real-time data merged with staff calendar information. Additional features were added over time, making Foundations™ an integral part of NTP’s operations by supporting areas such as system monitoring, clinical quality metrics, and stakeholder collaboration.

By using Foundations™’ actionable insights, NTP could now monitor, analyze, and improve its operations in real time; e.g., caseloads, case types, and case complexity — all segmented by customer & location. Additionally, NTP could now more effectively plan and manage radiologist schedules, addressing overtime and general workload. Staffing decisions were driven by actionable insights that assisted with business planning, operational efficiency, and strategic growth. Ultimately, this resulted in a significant increase in overall diagnostic imaging volume.

Growing Adoption

With their core operations now optimized, NTP deployed Foundations™ to their participating customers, VA medical centers. The platform’s collaboration tools shared information about urgent cases, workflow patterns, billing codes, and accounting reconciliation, enabling NTP to better understand and serve their customer’s needs. Today, NTP continues to use Foundations™ to monitor quality metrics and teleradiology workload audits across their customer network.

Other realized value:

  • Improved Customer Collaboration: Foundations™ improved the collaborative experience between NTP and their customers, leading NTP to deliver faster, higher-quality, and more efficient care for its customers and their patients.
  • Balanced Workloads: Foundations™ blended data (such as case types, patient flow patterns, and physician calendars), giving NTP a comprehensive model for more accurate planning decisions. This improved the quality and timeliness of results, including time-sensitive cases such as stroke protocols, and positioned NTP to meet service-level agreements without compromising their high-quality standards.
  • Informed and Efficient Management: Foundations™ delivered real-time data with historical trends, enabling NTP management to track current performance against business goals and objectives. Personalized and accurate data built trust and empowered management to more efficiently make decisions.
  • Engaged Physicians: Through Foundations™, radiologists reviewed meaningful, personalized, confidential, and secure insights about their performance – group metrics and objectives were all presented within business and clinical contexts. Real-time and historical examples included productivity ratios and qualitative metrics (e.g., peer review, critical case call-backs, report quality.) This increased engagement with and accountability for physicians.

The Bottom Line: Better Business, Improved Access

NTP initially provided teleradiology services to seven sites, and since implementing Foundations™, has grown to having over 6,000 registered users across 125 locations. Furthermore, their operational efficiency improved by 44%; staff proactively addressed quality issues and drove transparency, leading to increased trust and efficient collaboration with customers. Ultimately, for the patient, NTP improved access and care for veterans and their families.

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