by Helene Gey, Vice-President of Marketing, Intelerad
Every day, countless patients consult with a physician who recommends they visit a radiologist to receive a scan. Regardless of why the scan has been ordered, this is the beginning of the patient journey, which will inevitably be reflected on by the patient as either a positive or negative experience.
In Canterbury, New Zealand, the District Health Board (DHB) has gone to great lengths to improve the patient experience by increasing the speed of health care delivery, while maintaining a high level of quality. On the radiology front, this is being achieved thanks to the deployment of some key solutions.
Some quick background: As a large-scale health organization, Canterbury DHB provides a complete range of radiology services to three local hospitals on a 24 hour a day, seven day a week basis; secondary and tertiary services to residents of Canterbury and New Zealand’s South Island; and limited service to referrals from local physicians and specialists.
In regards to the number of full-time employees, Canterbury DHB has 16 radiologists, 14 registrars, over 50 radiographers and sonographers, and 10 nurses. Also, as an established teaching training center, they provide undergraduate and post-graduate medical training with specific training programs for radiology registrars.
Needless to say, Canterbury DHB is a busy place. So how did their radiology department effectively improve the patient journey? The main item was actively removing bottlenecks so the individual could move smoothly through the health care delivery process. To do so, the organization deployed a solution that provided them with seamless archiving, distributing and secure sharing of images and reports, which is ideal for the immediate transmission of studies and reports between a radiology group and multiple hospitals.
Aside from instant access to the information they need, Canterbury DHB have also seen substantial productivity gains from using an integrated workflow and universal worklist, as well as an advanced viewer module.
For patients, the smoothness of Canterbury DHB’s workflow, and the efficiency they’ve gained, provide benefit as it reduces the time needed to diagnose and provide treatment. This stands out even more in cases where patients use both the public and private healthcare system during their course of treatment; not only are studies easier to exchange between the health centers, but it allows physicians to follow the patient’s journey and avoid conducting repeat studies.
To learn more about how Canterbury DHB is improving the patient journey, I recommend having a look at their recently-published case study, which includes a video interview with Dr. Sean Skea, Canterbury DHB’s Chief of Radiology at Christchurch Hospital. Some highlights include how they manage their radiologists’ workloads, and how they bridge the gap between the public and private health care systems. It can be found here.
– Helene Gey