As I’ve continued my virgin journey at the massive RSNA (radiology) conference, I continue to be struck by how the challenges radiologists face are so similar to the challenges that are faced around healthcare IT. Here’s a look at some of them I’ve heard so far:
Data Standardization – In the EHR world we’ve been talking about data standardization forever. In the imaging world the challenges are very much the same. There are large and small vendors and the same challenge of trying to get them all on the same page. I do think imaging is a touch further along than the EHR world when it comes to standardization. However, they still have a ways to go too.
Workflow – Creating the right process for capturing and documenting the image is a major challenge. Getting the image to display at the right place and the right time is also a challenge. Sounds a lot like all the other EHR data doesn’t it?
Patient Engagement – This one really surprised me. In fact, some radiologists argue that the patient doesn’t want to interact with the radiologist, but only wants to interact with their referring provider. However, I’ve heard over and over from people about the opportunity for radiologists to really engage the patient. I think it’s a slightly different engagement, but all of healthcare IT is talking patient engagement.
Privacy and Security – The breach is just as strong in imaging as it is in all other health IT.
Smart Use of Data – There’s a feeling that we need new systems to process all the imaging data in a better way and that we should present only the data that’s relevant and necessary to the situation. In other words, exactly what we’re trying to do with the patient’s entire medical record. In fact, I think the smart use of data has to apply across all of a patient’s data from imaging to consumer collected data to EHR data.
Data Trust Issues – We trust radiology data, but as Kim Garriott, Principal Consultant of Healthcare Strategies for Logicalis Healthcare Solutions pointed out to me, the same isn’t true for a lot of other imaging data. There’s still a lot of work to do to ensure that the capture of other data from ultrasounds to scopes is done in a way that other providers can trust that data. Sounds exactly like our discussion around trusting EHR data.
I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the challenges are very much the same even if it sometimes feels like another world. We’re more alike than we are different. It’s just easy to focus on our differences. I think there’s a lot we can learn from each other.