Category: Radiology & Diagnostics

15 Jun 2022

What is DICOM in Medical Imaging?

DICOM stands for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine. It is an internationally standardized protocol for managing and transmitting images with related data.  It ensures interoperability of systems that produce, display, query, retrieve, share, send, store, print, and process medical images.

 

Why Is It Important?

 

Advances in imaging technology and increased use of computing in clinical work created a need for a standard method of transferring images and their associated information.  DICOM was developed to answer this need.  It can ensure this transfer between devices, regardless of vendor or manufacturer.

It is important to maintain this accuracy because facilities rely on medical imaging for accurate communication and profit.

With DICOM it is easier for physicians to access images and reports, allowing access from in house or remote locations.  This greatly improves the efficiency, and therefore the quality, of patient care.

What Does A DICOM File Contain?

 

DICOM images consist of two components: a header and the image.

The header contains the data that describes the image, primarily patient data.  As with other medical files, this includes the patient’s demographic information such as their name, age, gender, and date of birth.

The header can also contain information about the image, such as acquisition parameters, pixel intensity, matrix size and dimensions of the image.

 

How To View A DICOM File

 

It is only possible to view DICOM images using special software mean specifically designed for viewing these files.  The software can be proprietary or third party.

Proprietary software is what is installed in the equipment you purchase for medical imaging.

You can view the images at the same workstation where the images, such as CT or MRI, were acquired by the machine using the installed DICOM viewer. It will allow you to view images sequentially and to reconstruct the images.

Unfortunately, the proprietary software only allows you to view the images in the same location as the hardware.  The only way you can transfer the images is to a portable storage device or a network; however, you need to compress the images to do that.  Compression and exporting images usually prohibits access to the original image.

Because of these and other issues, third-party software has been developed and is used more commonly.  Third-party applications allow you to open DICOM files from any source (PACS server, the internet, a CD, or a DVD).

There are many DICOM viewing applications available.  Each viewer has different features, and you can consider the features available in each application as they compare to your viewing needs. The availability of third-party applications facilitates interoperability of your medical viewing device with other devices.

 

What Can I Do To A DICOM File In Addition To Simply Viewing The Image?

 

DICOM medical image viewers provide functionality that can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your work.  Some of the capabilities go beyond what was first imagined when imaging technology was developed.  Among the things you can achieve with DICOM are:

  • Comparison of medical images – With DICOM, you can view two digital images side by side to make comparisons.

 

  • Enhancement of image quality – DICOM allows you to zoom in to see detail and to change the contrast in an image. By increasing or decreasing the brightness of the image, you can make better distinctions between radiodensity and radiolucency in different areas of the image.

 

  • Reconstruction of images – This allows you to see aspects of the anatomy that are not available from the original images.
    • Two-dimensional to three-dimensional rendering is a method that takes the initial two-dimensional images from the initial DICOM data set that are taken in all three planes (axial, coronal, and sagittal) and reconstructs them into a three-dimensional rendering.
    • Multiplanar Reconstruction (MPR) uses the 3D reconstructed images and makes slices of them to allow you to view different anatomical levels at different angles than those acquired in the initial images.

 

  • Combination of images – Some DICOM applications allow you to combine different modalities, such as PET and CT images. Using this combined image, you can simultaneously leverage the advantages of both types of imaging modalities.  So, for example, a PET scan would locate areas of high metabolic activity, and you could combine that with the CT scan to map it to corresponding anatomical sites.

 

  • Measurement of image targets– If you want to measure the linear size or volume of anatomic structures, you will appreciate apps that have this functionality. Being able to make these measurements accurately and efficiently is useful in assessing treatment efficacy or in planning treatment.

 

Can You Transfer A DICOM File Into Other Formats?

 

Each DICOM file contains several high-resolution images.  Because this can create a very large file, compression is needed so you can transfer it.

It is important to note that compression of DICOM files uses two strategies:  lossless and lossy.

Lossless does not lose any information when it is compressed.  You can easily recover the original file at any time.  However, this requires a lot of processing and results slow file opening and saving.  A lot of compression is not possible with this strategy.

Lossy compression achieves greater compression because it removes some data.  Typically, redundant data is removed.  However, if a significant amount of compression is done, image quality can be impacted.

DICOM files can be compressed and exported into various formats, including JPEG, TIFF, PNG and GIF. This table summarizes the formats.

 

Other DICOM Capabilities

 

In addition to capabilities that enhance your viewing of and working with images, DICOM also has several functionalities that enhance the operation of your hospital or clinic.

DICOM supports network image management, network image interpretation management, network print management, image procedure management and offline storage media management.

DICOM simplifies the way you interface with your imaging equipment and can often be achieved by a “plug and play” system.

The system also works to group images with similar properties, which facilitates storage and retrieval.

Workload is also minimized by communication between Imaging Equipment and Existing Information Systems.  Once connected, DICOM generates a list of scheduled imaging procedures for that equipment.  Therefore, DICOM eliminates the need for duplicate data entry at the imaging equipment console.  Furthering efficiency, DICOM allows the user of that equipment to query another system and obtain additional details about the procedure and/or the patient.

 

Double Black Imaging Is Here For All Your Medical Imaging Needs

 

Double Black Imaging Displays can be calibrated remotely and automatically to employ DICOM functionality.  We include these capabilities to help make radiology imaging and reporting easier, more accurate and less time consuming.

We are here to help you solve your imaging issues and improve your process in your radiology department.  To learn more about your ideal OR Monitors, DICOM applications that make your life easier, or our other products and services, contact us today or email us at sales@doubleblackimaging.com.

 

12 May 2022

What Are Surgical Displays And Monitors?

 

Surgery monitors and ER monitors provide high quality images that facilitate your ability to successfully perform surgeries and procedures. A quality monitor allows you to see the patient’s anatomy in detail and make diagnostic and treatment decisions for the best patient outcomes.

Medical-grade monitors are used in operating rooms, emergency rooms and medical offices.  Displays you use in image-guided procedures such as endoscopy (gastrointestinal, arthroscopic, laparoscopic, or robotic guided surgery) and interventional radiology are usually referred to as surgical displays or surgical monitors.  You can use them to display a variety of critical information, including patient data, x-rays, vital signs, brain activity, endoscopy images, PACS images, surgical feeds, etc.

 

Types of Surgical Displays

 

Surgical displays come in a variety of forms, shapes, and sizes.  These devices include displays you can use near a patient (near-patient displays), large screen operating room displays, user interfaces (touch displays), and control displays which are often used in interventional radiology.

Surgical displays can offer high-definition or 4K visualization for presented visual images.  These displays can be mounted on your radiology practices wall, on an equipment column, or on a surgical light arm.

 

Diagnostic Displays

 

As a physician or radiologist, use a diagnostic display to view various diagnostic images like Computerized Tomography (CT) scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and X-rays.

Medical facilities are relying on diagnostic displays more as new procedures require you to employ endoscopic visualization to perform surgery or diagnostic procedures.

High Definition and Ultra High-Definition Surgical Displays

 

As you rely more on image-guided surgical devices, you can appreciate the movement from High Definition to Ultra High Definition (4K) technology incorporated into new systems and monitors.  A 4K monitor provides four times the image detail compared to High-Definition images. This means that you can see more anatomical detail and more clinically relevant information in order to provide the best service to your patient.

Another benefit of 4K displays is that they provide a wider color gamut.  It provides you with a broader spectrum of reds – which is especially helpful in the OR.  It also provides more detail and color-corrects images, which means you can differentiate tissue types and structures such as nerves, blood vessels, organs, and organic material within your patient.

It is also important to note that with the detail gained with 4K resolution, you gain a better holistic perception and a more immersive environment to operate with greater precision.

 

Large Format Displays

 

Simply stated, Large Format Operating Room displays give you a larger viewing area.  They can be mounted on the OR wall so that your entire team can view the surgical site during the procedure.

This feature makes large format displays ideal for use in your hybrid ORs, interventional X-ray and cardiovascular suites.

 

Important factors in a Surgical Display

 

           Crisp Image

Clear, crisp images mean you won’t have artifacts and visible pixels.  So, you can see the fine detail of the surgical site.  Some surgical displays offer multi-image visualization for viewing multiple images simultaneously in high quality.

The backlight stabilization of surgical displays ensures consistent image brightness and maintained focus for moving images.

Finally, you can see details clearly, even when you are not standing directly in front of the display.  So, there is no need for frequent readjustments of display location and angle.

          Fan-less Design

A fan-less monitor has the advantage of being easier to clean and disinfect, preventing the spread of contaminants and saving your staff time and resources.

Also, the fan noise is eliminated, enabling your team to communicate more effectively, and reducing concerns about errors related to noise interference.

          Ventless Design

Surgical monitors with vents require additional time and effort to clean. You risk contamination of your hands, the patient, or surfaces near the patient if the pathogens are not completely removed by thoroughly cleaning all surfaces.

A ventless design has two great advantages:

  1. It reduces the surface area that you must clean, making cleaning easier and less time consuming.
  2. It also reduces areas where dust can settle, and bacteria can grow.

 

          Impact-resistant Design

Surgical monitors with impact-resistant shields protect the panel from physical damage, which means your technology investment is protected against collisions with lights, IV poles, and other structures in the OR.

This is particularly important when your staff is working quickly to accommodate frequent turnovers for new procedures.

         Medical Grade Power Supply

A Medical grade power supply has a long lifecycle and minimizes the risk of shock.  Also, you gain protection against a technical or power failure so you can maintain critical information during a procedure.

 

Why are Double Black Imaging Surgical Displays the Best?

 

Double Black Imaging is committed to providing you medical imaging technology that enhances your diagnostic capabilities.

Here are just a few of the many reasons Double Black Imaging Displays are the best:

  1. Our displays provide bold, crisp images even when you view them from a distance.
  2. We provide you with the world’s most technologically advanced Surgical Displays.
  3. They are built to withstand years of use.
  4. Our monitors give you unmatched quality, clarity, and consistency.
  5. We offer a full line of splash-proof Surgical Operating Room Displays.
  6. Our solutions meet and exceed all surgical imaging requirements.
  7. Our displays offer full HD resolution, ultra-high brightness, and
  8. They support a wide variety of inputs so you can interface with your new or technologies and eliminate costly signal conversion, signal degradation and image lag.
  9. Our monitors to deliver exceptionally fast response time when viewing live video or motion, with in versatility for picture in a picture or picture by picture format.
  10. We guarantee that every display has certification for classification as a medical display.

 

Why Choose Double Black Imaging?

 

At Double Black Imaging, we base each product and business decision on how to best serve your needs.  We strive to build a long-term relationship with you by offering the most advanced equipment at competitive prices.

Double Black Imaging began in 2002 with the goal of making medical imaging more efficient and improving healthcare.  We maintain that standard by providing the best value in the industry and by offering technologically advanced medical imaging solutions that enhance diagnostic capabilities, along with exceptional customer service and support.

 

Premier Customer Service

 

Double Black Imaging’s commitment to making the best decision for you, our customer goes well beyond the sale of OR Monitors.

Surgical Displays and Monitors

 

Our industry-leading customer service means we provide you the necessary knowledge and support, before and after your purchase.

To learn more about your ideal OR Monitors or our other products and services, contact us today at (877) 852-2870 or email us at sales@doubleblackimaging.com.

03 May 2022

What Are Diagnostic Imaging Systems?

Diagnostic Imaging Systems are a vital component of clinical decision-making, and they are commonly used in many hospitals and health centers. Imaging provides physicians a tool not only to diagnose injuries or illness, but also to plan and monitor the course of needed treatments.

 

What Is Diagnostic Imaging?

 

Diagnostic medical imaging involves specific techniques that obtain images from inside the body. This technology provides detailed visualizations that include any abnormalities in structure or function. A diagnostic radiologist is a physician who is specially trained in the interpretation of these images to diagnose illness or injury.

 

What Is It Used For?

 

Diagnostic medical imaging allows physicians to visualize activities and structures inside the body. The images help diagnose the cause of symptoms or identify signs of a health condition. Diagnostic imaging also provides capabilities to confirm illnesses or monitor how well a patient is responding to medical treatment or intervention.

 

Types of Diagnostic Imaging

 

  1. An MRI scan can detect tumors, injuries, lesions, and infections. One benefit of this type of diagnostic imaging system is that it uses a powerful magnet (not radiation) to obtain a 3D image of organs and tissues inside the body of the patient. This scan can be used to examine the spinal cord, brain, joints, breast tissue, abdomen, or liver for injuries or abnormalities like cysts or tumors. An MRI exam can be ordered with contrast and generally takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

There are four types of MRI machines:

  • True open: This is open on all sides; beneficial for individuals who are claustrophobic.
  • Closed: A traditional tube is one in which a patient lies down inside for the images.
  • Wide bore: This resembles a closed MRI, but with a wider middle opening.
  • 3T MRI: This type is more advanced than traditional MRI and it takes less time. The high-resolution images enable the radiologist to determine the severity of a patient’s condition.

 

  1. MRA Scans (magnetic resonance angiogram) provide very detailed images of the blood vessels to identify issues that lead to reduced blood flow. Physicians use MRAs to look for calcium deposits, aneurysms, inflammation, or clots within the blood flow that may narrow or occlude vessels. In some cases, they may order a contrast dye to get a better definition of the scan’s images. MRA tests are typically used on the legs, neck, brain, or kidneys. In many cases, an MRA scan can detect more information than x-rays, ultrasounds, or CT scans.

 

  1. Computed tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans are frequently used to quickly examine individuals who may have internal injuries from trauma. CT scans are commonly used to evaluate the spine, brain, abdomen, neck, and chest. A CT scan can detect bone and muscle disorders, masses, tumors, injuries, and internal bleeding. This test combines a string of X-ray images taken at multiple angles to generate a cross-sectional slice of blood vessels and soft tissues. While CT scans use low doses of radiation, they’re still relatively non-invasive and safe.

 

A CT scan can be used to visualize nearly all body parts, including:

  • Head: Check for stroke, masses, and other abnormalities
  • Chest: Provide more detail into abnormalities as needed after an x-ray
  • Neck: Look for enlarged glands or lymph nodes and lumps.
  • Spine: Detect problems like spinal canal narrowing, a herniated disc, or fractures
  • Sinus: Detect and diagnose obstructions or sinus disease
  • Pelvis/ Abdomen: Check organs and diagnose unexplained pain

 

  1. Ultrasound- This technology produces real-time images onto a computer monitor as the technician moves the transducer over an area to show the structure and movement of internal organs or blood flow. It is often used to assess wellbeing during pregnancy. It doesn’t use radiation, but rather high-frequency waves that bounce back when they hit an area of density.

A physician may order an ultrasound to investigate the cause of symptoms such as swelling, infection, or pain. Ultrasounds can be used to examine the Heart, Joints, Uterus, Blood vessels, Muscles, Bladder, or Kidneys.

 

  1. X-rays -X-rays are among the most used diagnostic imaging tests. They provide quick results at a relatively inexpensive cost. X-ray equipment generates a high-energy beam that dense tissue and bones can’t absorb but can pass through other areas of the body. This process generates an image, allowing your doctor to see an injury to bones. This technology uses low-dose radiation and a specialized plate to produce images of inside the body, typically the bones and joints. Digital x-rays use less radiation and are employed for the same purposes.

 

  1. Mammography- Mammograms are a type of x-ray image of the breasts. They screen for early evidence of breast cancer, sometimes identifying lumps years before they are palpable. A radiologist can use Digital mammography, which requires a much lower radiation dose to produce high-quality images of breast tissue to identify and diagnose cancer nodules that older systems can’t detect.

 

  1. Bone Density Scan- This procedure, also known as “bone mineral density testing,” uses x-ray equipment to measure the amount of bone minerals and calcium per square centimeter. Typically, this scan is conducted on the hip, spine, or forearm. This scan can determine whether a patient has osteoporosis (a condition where the bones are fragile and susceptible to fractures). Bone density scans are recommended for patients with the following risk factors: a recent fracture, height loss of more than an inch and a half, decreased hormone levels, long-term steroid use, or anti-rejection medication due to organ or tissue transplant.

 

  1. Arthrogram- Also known as “arthrography,” arthrograms consist of various images obtained using x-ray, fluoroscopy, CT scans, or an MRI specifically of an individual’s joints. An arthrogram is one of many types of medical imaging used to diagnose joint problems. To do this, a radiologist will inject your joint with a contrast dye that coats your joint structures and lining, allowing the physician to easily evaluate joint function. An arthrogram might capture detail that other types of imaging may not detect.

 

  1. Myelogram- During a myelogram, a technologist injects contrast dye into the spinal cord space. While this dye moves through the spinal spaces, fluoroscopy is used to examine the spinal cord, tissue, and surrounding nerves for any abnormalities, like tumors, infection, and inflammation.

 

  1. Nuclear Medicine – During this type of medical imaging, radioactive tracers are injected into a vein to provide images of the internal organs and structures. This gives physicians the opportunity to diagnose some types of cancers, gastrointestinal issues, or endocrine disorders. It can be used with a bone scan, thyroid scan, thallium cardiac stress, or positron emission tomography (PET scan).

 

Do you have imaging needs?

Diagnostic Imaging System Provider

Double Black Imaging is dedicated to building long-term customer relationships by providing the world’s finest imaging components for diagnostic imaging at competitive prices. We are committed to supporting our products with exceptional customer service. Contact us today!

20 Jan 2022

Tips for Radiology Reporting Online

Radiology reporting online has become a primary means of communicating results of radiology imaging.  As this change has evolved, the requirement for immediate availability of results has emerged.  Previously, radiologists took a few days to write their reports and communicate results with the managing physician prior to releasing those results to the patient.

Now, with the development of teleradiology reporting via portals, patients usually obtain access at the same time the report is made available to the referring physician.

Radiologists have two primary concerns about how these requirements impact their practices.

  • A delay in access to personal health information can result in a hefty fine.
  • Remote radiology reporting has become the primary means of communication between the radiologist, the referring medical doctor and the patient.

While clarity has always been a focus, we must be able to convey that information to 2 or more distinct audiences.

Here are some tips for creating effective radiology reports online:

 

Keep Your Reports Clear and Concise

 

When writing your report for publication in the online portal, use of standardized sections provides a consistent organization across all reports and simplifies the content for both the patient and the referring physician.

The following five sections help provide the structure of the report:

  • Clinical Referral and Medical History
    • Reason for the referral (clearly and briefly)
    • Clinical problem being investigated
    • Indicate if insufficient clinical information limited full interpretation
    • Justification of radiation exposure, if warranted

 

  • Procedure/Technique
    • Name of the procedure(s)
    • Description of the procedure(s)
    • Variations in the standard procedure(s)
    • Contrast medium
    • Route of administration
    • Type of contrast
    • Dose of administered
    • Adverse reactions
    • Medications given while in the radiology department
    • Suboptimal features and any impact on the interpretation of results
    •  Radiation dose (if applicable)

 

  • Evaluation Results/Findings
    • Description of abnormalities, organized systematically
    • First address the findings that pertain to the clinical diagnosis and suspected pathology
    • Use accepted terminology and precise language
      • Include details about the abnormalities
      • Dimension
      • Signal intensity
      • Attenuation
      • Echogenicity
      • Density
    • Positive or negative features that impact the interpretation
    • The site of any abnormalities and the relationship to other structures
    • Reference which images in the report best illustrate the abnormality
    • Any incidental or relative negative findings
    • Compare the current findings with previous studies (if available)
    • Use the term “normal” rather than “unremarkable”

 

  • Summary/Conclusions
    • This is one of the most important sections to the patient
    • Use clear and concise language to avoid confusion and minimize anxiety
    • Because of its importance, this section is addressed later in this article

 

  • Recommendations/Next Steps
    • This is another one                                                                                                                                     of the most important sections to the patient
    • This section is also addressed later in this article

 

Unique and Patient-Specific Reports Make The Patient Feel Valued

 

When a patient sees specific information about themselves in your report, they understand that you see yourself as a member of their healthcare team and that you are concerned about them.

Reserve judgment about sensitive topics, such as smoking, alcohol use or body build.

 

Use of Structured Reporting Presents Standardized Information In A Clear, Organized Format, Tracking The Attributes of Each Finding

 

We have provided an outline for structured reporting in radiology in this article.  Using structured reporting, you can present standardized information in a clear, organized format.  You can track each finding, and you are prompted to complete all required fields to create consistency in subsequent reports.  Further, physicians who regularly make referrals can follow the structure and scan to areas that are important to the treatment plan.

Other benefits to using Structured Reporting include that can result in:

  • More time efficiency
  • Support for automated billing and order entry
  • Helping research analysis and decisions
  • An improvement in communication of radiology results
  • Easier retrieval of data for comparison, audit and research
  • Standardized section headings and sequenced observations with templates or checklists
  • An easy way to implement standardized language and vocabulary
  • Improved clarity, reduced ambiguity, and increased confidence in the findings and recommendations
  • Organized communication with patients
  • A method of giving patients information about their condition that is easily understood and organ-specific which helps guide healthcare decisions

 

While structured reporting increases certainty and clarity, often there is uncertainty in the interpretation of the findings.  Clearly communicating uncertainty is vital to clarifying the nature and extent of that uncertainty so that physicians and patients can understand the degree of confidence in the findings and use it to guide clinical decision making.

 

Include A Short Summary Wrapping Up Everything Covered In The Report

 

As stated before, patients are most interested in the conclusions and summary/recommendations of the written report.

This section should not be a mere repetition of the findings.  It should improve understanding of the findings and have clear next steps.  Be sure this section addresses the following:

  • States an overall impression that gives a comprehensive review of:
  • Imaging features
  • Clinical information
  • Laboratory findings.
    • States the diagnosis with the greatest possible precision (if not possible, provide an appropriately ranked differential diagnosis)
    • If use of a differential diagnosis is necessary, it should be
      • Relevant
      • Limited
      • Should explain how it supports or denies the referring diagnosis
    • Be sure that the conclusion relates to the original presentation of the referral
  • Discuss relevance of incidental findings
  • Restate adverse events

 

Include Advice For What To Do Moving Forward

 

Provide a message directly to the patient which indicates normal or abnormal findings and next steps.  This will help reduce patient anxiety.

 

 Avoid Technical jargon

 

Incorporate lay-language translations of complicated terms into digital radiology reports.

While the report always needs to consider the expected level of knowledge and expertise of the referring physician, keep in mind that you are also writing a report that will be read by the patient.  Avoid abbreviations unless it is something that is commonly known.

 

Enhanced Reports – Pictures, Tables, Graphs, and Hyperlinks To Useful Links

 

Patient understanding is improved by using information that is presented visually or evokes a visual image.  Providing links to patient-focused information also makes the information more accessible.

Information should be presented in a form that precisely illustrates the findings and helps the patient understand the imaging results.

 

 Approach Bad News Carefully

 

Bad news needs to be delivered in a simple, supportive manner that states clearly what has been observed.  Jargon should be avoided, and language should be used that creates a supportive atmosphere should be used.

 

Conclusion About What Double Black Imaging Provides For Your Practice

 

Work With Experts At Double Black ImagingDouble Black Imaging, headquartered in Plymouth, MN, has sales and service offices across the USA.  Double Black Imaging is committed to making imaging more efficient, reducing healthcare costs, and strengthening customer service while performing 100% of software development and display integration in the USA.

For more information about Double Black Image, our products, and our services, visit our website at https://doubleblackimaging.com/ or email us at sales@doubleblackimaging.com.

29 Nov 2021

What Is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology (IR) is a medical sub-specialty of radiology that performs minimally-invasive procedures with the aid of medical imaging devices to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ in the human body. Most areas of hospital medicine and ​​patient management have been impacted by IR. With the help of these devices, interventional radiologists interpret the images to guide, monitor, and provide appropriate actions during medical procedures, thus ensuring patients’ safety.

All professionals that practice IR are board-certified, fellowship trained physicians who have graduated from an accredited medical school, passed a licensing examination, and completed at least five years of graduate medical education. Additionally, they have undergone one of the various paths to board certification, specialized training programs certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and have been certified by the American Board of Radiology. To become certified by these boards, interventional radiologists must prove their expertise in radiation safety, radiation physics, and the biological effects of radiation and injury prevention. Furthermore, they must show their thorough proficiency in invasive treatments as well as diagnostic and clinical experience.

What are the benefits of interventional radiology?

 

IR procedures are steadily increasing in popularity because of how effective they are in comparison with traditional surgeries. IR procedures often mean reduced costs, decreased recovery time, reduced risk, and less pain for patients. In fact, in many cases they don’t even need to be carried out in a hospital.

  • Reduced costs: Hospital stays and general anesthesia are often what make surgical procedure costs high. IR means the invasive procedure will be minimal as well as effective and precise, and patients will be sleeping in their own bed that night.
  • Quicker convalescence: Typically, patients recover much faster from an IR procedure than traditional open surgery methods. For instance, a hysterectomy can take weeks to fully heal from, whereas having a uterine fibroid embolization (a procedure using IR) takes days to recover from.
  • Reduced risk: General anesthesia is unavoidable in open surgery. However, with IR procedures, local anesthetics are applied to the area that will be treated. This eliminates the risks of going under the full effect of the medically induced coma, as well as the risk of patients’ inner organs being exposed to bacteria for a prolonged period.

 

What kind of procedures are performed in interventional radiology?

 

Even though interventional radiologists are skilled in various techniques, procedures often fall into three main categories:

Arteries and Blood Vessel procedures: The shrinking of arteries and blood vessels can restrict blood flow. Lack of blood flow to limbs may lead to amputation in some cases. To treat this, interventional radiologists use balloon angioplasty (a kind of balloon) or metal springs to hold arteries open, or they can help save limbs by infusing clot-busting drugs directly into the artery via small catheters.

Hemorrhage is one of the most common vascular emergencies that IRs treat. Bleeding can come from anywhere in the body and is often stopped by blocking the vessel. Interventional radiologists often prevent hemorrhage during surgical procedures with a stent gaft or by blowing up a balloon in the vessel.

 

Non-vascular intervention radiology: This technique is often used for treatments in the field of oncology, but treatments are also efficient when it comes to benign tumors. The aim of this treatment is to shrink or destroy tumors that are either at their primary site or have spread. Ultrasound, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance are the kinds of imaging often used in tumor therapies. Ultimately, the goal of this intervention is for patient survival.

 

Kidney stones and gallstones are some of the most common abdominal diseases. Kidney stones cause pain, infection and blockage of the kidney which can lead to irreversible kidney damage if it’s not treated quickly. With the help of IR, an endoscope can be accurately passed into the kidney through a small skin incision which enables surgeons to break the stone, pull the fragments out or drain urine from the kidney.

Gall stones are cured with laparoscopic surgery, where IR is used to ensure greater precision during the procedure. Sometimes interventional radiologists are required to perform drainage by placing catheter tubes through the liver to either remove the stones or place stents to allow drainage.

 

Therapeutic and Diagnostic Specialty

 

The range of techniques used in IR help target therapy and diagnosis more precisely. The aim of IR is to diagnose and treat patients using the least invasive techniques, ultimately minimizing risk to the patient while improving their health outcomes. IR is often a great option to traditional open surgery and is increasingly becoming a primary approach to treat various conditions. IR professionals often collaborate with other physicians to provide patients with a comprehensive evaluation and manage image-guided interventions. Some of the most commonly implemented image-guided therapeutic and diagnostic procedures include:

  • Gastrointestinal
  • Hepatobiliary
  • Genitourinary
  • Pulmonary
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Central Nervous system

 

Get started with an ​​interventional radiology suite that will improve your patient care

 

Work With Double Black Imaging TodayWhen it comes to making an important investment in your healthcare facility, you want to make sure you do so through a reliable company that has a thorough understanding of your needs. With over 30 years of experience in the high-performance display industry, Double Black Imaging provides ways to make imaging more efficient. Dedicated to building long-term customer relationships, we are committed to supporting quality products with exceptional customer service.

Double Black Imaging offers the latest mobile medical imaging technology at competitive prices and can walk you through how to implement it in your healthcare organization. Contact Double Black Imaging for help with making the most of your purchase, or take a look at our latest medical imaging technology.

22 Sep 2021

Improving Patient Care in Radiology

During the past decade, and especially with the new normal, the medical model has shifted to focus on patient-centered care. Patient-centered care (PCC) is at the heart of medicine and focuses on each individual’s particular healthcare needs. Treatments, medications, and medical approaches are tailored to the patient’s preferences, needs, and values. What is Patient-Centered Care? Today, PCC is equated with high-quality medical services. At the core of PPC is the moral obligation to care for patients on their terms. This way it’s ensured that patients are listened to, informed, respected, and become more significantly involved in the care process.

Evidence-based medicine acknowledges that a successful outcome is not only what is valued by physicians but also what is meaningful to the patients themselves. Preparing health care professionals to be more mindful, informative, and empathic shifts their role which in the past has been characterized by that of being a detached authority to one that encourages partnership, solidarity, empathy, and collaboration. With our diagnostic radiology display monitors, practitioners can evaluate the best course of action and treatment for patients, while simultaneously helping to provide a medical experience that also caters to the patient’s requests.

How Radiology Displays Improve Patient Centered Care:

 

The Benefits of Patient-Centered Care? PCC can be profoundly beneficial when done right. However, confusion on what the term’s aim can produce unhelpful results that are superficial and ineffective. In fact, some hospitals and healthcare facilities operate in the name of patient-centered care but instead adopt models used by hotels, including greeters, greenery, and gadgets. Even though these services are great for the patient’s experience they don’t necessarily accomplish the aim of patient-centered care. A partial positive patient experience isn’t the goal. Sure, patients should have a good experience when they embark on their care process, but PCC is much more comprehensive and addresses a much deeper level. Our diagnostic radiology display monitors seek to uphold the tenets of the Patient-Center Care model by helping departments and radiologists evaluate patients true needs, and apply medical assistance from those images.

Here are the benefits both patients and healthcare facilities can accomplish when PCC is implemented properly:

Access to a Comprehensive Patient Profile: Within the healthcare system patients often have various touchpoints making it challenging to access their data as it’s spread out through website usage, social media, claims, provider data, and many others. Adopting this method helps to provide patient care under one roof, and with our radiology display monitors, patient care is evaluated based on radiological imaging.

Information is power: By creating a comprehensive profile of your patient, with radiology displays, you are ensuring you have a full picture of their health and medical history. With this information, you’ll be able to provide your patients with the kind of high-quality care that PCC aims for.

Build trust and increase customer retention: According to a 2021 Beryl Institute report, 70% of patients will share a positive experience with others. But your bigger risk is that 76% will share a negative one. And with a negative experience, 43% of patients won’t go back to that provider, with 37% finding a different doctor altogether. By implementing PCC you’re ensuring your patients get the best possible experience by acting upon the ailment. Ultimately, not only will your patients keep going back to a healthcare facility they trust, but they’ll share this positive experience with others.

Radiology Equipment Systems and MonitorsIncrease Patient Engagement: An interactive process with patients ensures a quality-based experience for them. Guiding them through their care journey at your healthcare facility while keeping an open communication will keep your patients engaged as well as deliver a personalized end-to end care.

Discover how our diagnostic radiology display monitors can help improve your practice today.

24 Aug 2021

Benefits of Mobile Medical Imaging

 Mobile medical imaging is gaining increasing momentum in the medical field.  This cost-effective service helps patients get an early diagnosis from medical facilities, homes, or their workplaces.  With the new normal, healthcare facilities often become overwhelmed, making mobile imaging services become more convenient for patients than in-house imaging services.

In fact, mobile medical imaging is projected to increase in popularity in the medical industry. A 2020 study by Coherent Market Insights, found that by 2027, the mobile imaging services market will account for $ 16,709.3 Million with a 3.3% compound annual growth rate.  Though mobile medical imaging is a recent addition to the medical industry, these services are easy to integrate into existing ones without incurring additional costs.

What is Mobile Medical Imaging?

 

Mobile imaging enables both patients or healthcare professionals to access the equipment they need, wherever they need it.  Whether patients are at the office, home, or at a medical facility, mobile imaging offers comprehensive X-Ray, EKG, and ultrasound services among others.  This flexible service is especially helpful for patients suffering from memory-related disorders who favor a familiar environment or to help surgeons make informed decisions during a critical moment in an operation.Mobile Medical Imaging

The following are some of the most popular uses for mobile imaging:

  • X-Ray: The most frequent use of X-rays is to identify bone injuries, deformities, and observe bone healing. However, X-rays are used in other ways as well.  For instance, chest X-rays can detect pneumonia ​​or bronchitis and other placements can detect gallstones as well as kidney stones.  Additionally, X-rays can be used to check for the correct placement of other medical devices such as implantable pumps and catheters.

 

  • EKG: An electrocardiogram is used to check for signs of heart disease. This technology detects the electrical signal from patients’ hearts using electrodes placed on the skin.  It’s one of the easiest and fastest tests to check for abnormalities or heart damage such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes or heart disease.  EKGs also help healthcare professionals check how efficiently medication is working and whether it’s causing side effects that have a negative impact on the heart.

 

  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging uses high-frequency sound waves to capture images from internal body structures such as tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels, and internal organs. This imaging method is used for diagnosing the causes of pain, swelling, infections in the body’s internal organs, and to examine a baby in pregnant women.  Additionally, this technology can help identify abdominal aneurysms, carotid occlusive disease and carotid artery disease, renal vascular disease, hypertension and early signs of kidney failure

 

What are the Benefits of Mobile Medical Imaging?

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) an estimated 3.6 billion diagnostic medical examinations, such as X-rays, are performed every year, and the number continues to increase. In the past, when patients required X-rays, ultrasounds, or EKGs, they would be sent to the in-house imaging department at the hospital.  Due to the high demand for these services, in-house departments often get overwhelmed, which lead to long wait times.  With the new normal this is especially problematic.  Sitting for long stretches of time in busy waiting rooms is not only a cause for concern regarding COVID-19 infection, but it’s often the case that these diagnoses are time-sensitive.  Whether patients are using third-party imaging facilities or doing it in-house at a hospital, having an imaging service performed typically takes longer.

With our monitors and equipment, we can help you begin your practice as mobile medical imaging company with our mobile medical imaging equipment and monitors.

Mobile imaging services enable patients to have much more flexible access to imaging scans.  This kind of imaging service is not only much more accommodating to patients, but also much more cost-effective. Mobile imaging allows for faster turnaround times which ultimately help healthcare professionals diagnose patients in a shorter time frame.

Improved Patient Care

 

Patient care is a top priority for healthcare facilities which is why increasing organizations are adopting mobile imaging.  When a patient is critically ill or has a debilitating mental illness, it could put them at risk to have them mobilized to a hospital’s imaging department or to go to an imaging facility.  Enabling access to diagnostic imaging for high-risk patients is not only much more accommodating to their needs, but could save lives.

Additionally, not having to move patients from one place to another, means other nearby patients will be able to heal better and faster.  Quiet environments allow patients to sleep and rest much more effectively, which enables them to heal faster.  Decreasing noise and activity not only enable better rest but also lead to fewer spikes in heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol output, and overall anxiety.

Quick Diagnosis

 

Mobile medical imaging services help healthcare facilities address delays that are related to performing diagnostic imaging.  Factoring out the time it takes to transport a patient from their bedside to where images will be performed, makes the image capture process significantly faster.  Additionally, the images captured by the patient’s bedside can be viewed by healthcare professionals immediately, which ultimately helps speed up diagnosis.

Improved Use of a Physical Layout

 

One of the main concerns of implementing new technology into existing care services is its integration with the current technology as well as the investment of time and funds.  Integrating mobile imaging into existing services is seamless because there are no space requirements, no equipment overhead, and no training is necessary.

All you need to operate your mobile imaging service is an easily accessible level location, proximity to power sources, and protection from the elements.  Additionally, you should make sure the distance from network connections isn’t too far as this will ensure the reliability of speedy IT connections and how swiftly the equipment can scan.

Mobile medical imaging services are revolutionizing the medical industry with their ability to provide faster, cost-effective, and convenient imaging services in contrast with traditional imaging departments in hospitals and third-party facilities.  Today more than ever, imaging professionals have a much more flexible and crucial role that has a real-time impact on patients’ health.

With this portable technology, healthcare professionals don’t have to use small doses of radiation in scans that could seriously affect the health of both patients and attending healthcare professionals.  Instead, today’s mobile technology like CT scanners can provide improved quality without high radiation exposure. Uses in surgeries can ensure there is no internal bleeding, necessary cuts and dissections are minimally invasive, and other issues can be observed in real-time during crucial operations.  With the ability to provide faster and more accomodating diagnostic medical examinations, healthcare professionals are better able to address patients issues and continue to save lives with the help of mobile medical imaging.

With over 30 years of experience in the high-performance display industry, Double Black Imaging provides ways to make imaging more efficient.  Dedicated to building long-term customer relationships, they are committed to supporting quality products with exceptional customer service. We can help you begin your journey as a mobile medical imaging provider.

The Largest Radiology Group in North America stated:
“If I was dealing with one of the large corporate companies, I probably wouldn’t have expected a reply for a couple of days. Great to see that I have some instant support.  That is definitely one of the factors in our decision.  That’s why you are so successful… you guys are doing things right out there in Colorado!  Another happy customer.”

Imaging Systems and Displays For RadiologyDouble Black Imaging offers the latest mobile medical imaging technology at competitive prices and can walk you through how to implement it in your healthcare organization.  Contact Double Black Imaging for help with making the most of your purchase or take a look at our latest medical monitors.

Double Black Imaging understands the monitors and equipment you will need to begin your practice and enhance your ability to become a mobile medical imaging company.

13 Aug 2021

Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging

Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging

Artificial intelligence has revolutionized the way the medical industry approaches decision-making. Data collected by AI affords healthcare workers and scientists detailed insights and efficient tools that streamline medical processes.  Its scope ranges from scheduling appointments and digitizing medical records, to drug dosage algorithms and adverse effect warnings when multidrug combinations are prescribed.  From its early days being used for administrative work, AI has become an indispensable tool in several branches of medicine, most significantly in medical imaging.

 

How AI Can Help Make Data-Backed Decisions

During the last decade the use of data has become increasingly valuable and crucial in businesses across the world.  This is especially true in the medical industry.  Hard data is the panacea.  It enables professionals to make faster and more accurate decisions by setting aside biases and information gaps.  This awareness has led to major players in the medical industry allocating significant investments into tools that can help capture, store, and leverage data resources in order to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving global landscape.

Radiology, CAD (computer-assisted diagnosis), and MRIs are some of the primary technologies that have efficiently incorporated AI.  By implementing AI, healthcare professionals are able to access much more accurate, sensitive, and specific data that aids in the detection of small radiographic abnormalities that lead to improved diagnosis and treatment. Processing significant numbers of medical images has become faster, ultimately expediting the detection of disease characteristics that would normally go unnoticed by the human eye.  Additionally, false-positive diagnosis can be greatly reduced by AI identifying and flagging abnormal exams.  This is especially helpful for computed tomographies, X-rays, magnetic resonance images in high volume settings, and hospitals with less available human resources.  Furthermore, finding reliable data that can go undetected by humans such as molecular markers in tumors is much more accurate with this tool.

 

How AI is Impacting Radiology

AI shows special promise in radiology because it will increasingly optimize workflows, facilitate quantitative radiology, aid the discovery of genomic markers, and much more. AI has become essential for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.  By recognizing complex patterns in imaging data and providing quantitative assessments of radiographic characteristics, healthcare professionals are able to make much more informed decisions and provide better patient care.

In the coming years, AI will radically transform radiology, particularly with Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging.  It will impact clinical processes by reducing administrative burden as well, ensuring billing efficiency, procedure integrity, and fraud detection.  Not only will healthcare professionals be much more efficient but they’ll be able to focus much more on patients with the help of automation.  Decades of entrenched data silos that exist in healthcare facilities will be digitized and automated.  This way the entirety of patient records will be available to healthcare professionals.  They’ll have a comprehensive patient story which can be easily accessed instead of having to manually hunt down data across systems.

 

Recent Improvements Using Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging


The core purpose of AI is machine learning.  From its early days in radiology it has been used to understand how to classify an image (i.e. whether it had a tumor in a specific area). In its early days, machine learning required users to input and determine a significant amount of data.  However, the aim of using AI is for it to implement deep learning. Deep learning doesn’t require explicit user input and learns much more from the data it accesses.  With deep learning, high-level features can be extracted from raw image inputs, disentangling abstractions and it can determine how its performance can improve.

Though the concept of deep learning was approached decades ago, it has not been feasible until now.  Using deep learning Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging, momentous improvements in research have been demonstrated. A study by Ardila et al proposed a deep learning algorithm to predict the risk of lung cancer using patients’ current and prior CT volumes. The model achieved advanced performance on 6,716 national lung cancer screening trial cases.  Compared to conventional screenings which have risks of false-positive exams, overdiagnosis, diagnostic evaluation complications, and radiation exposure, AI diagnosis performed 94.4% under the curve, significantly reducing these risks.

 

Workflow Efficiency Using Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging


Using AI for medical imaging, not only improves patient care, but also optimizes workflows significantly.  Automating processes saves time and can make the difference when a patient’s life is at risk.  With the new normal, automation is becoming more crucial than ever as more radiographers and other medical staff may experience burnout.  Intelligent imaging features make images easier to read and can catch details that may go undetected by the human eye especially if radiologists are fatigued, have little experience, or there’s a high volume of studies to review.  Additionally, exams can be carried out quicker and workloads can be reduced by assigning monotonous tasks like segmenting structures to AI.

Among the most prominent features that have greatly improved workflow efficiency in medical imaging is image capture.  Using artificial intelligence in medical imaging software, quality image capture is greatly improved.  This means radiologists have improved visualization and consistent presentation.  Patient care becomes much more personalized due to the radiation dose being optimized and custom preference looks can be implemented.

Not only do AI-driven radiology solutions provide consistent quality and imaging, but they also reduce retakes and don’t require additional training.  This tool enables more quantitative imaging that detects lesions that may be subtle and can go unnoticed when radiologists aren’t fully focused.  Moreover, best sanitary practices are easily implemented by radiographers because the time they need to be in close contact with patients for positioning is reduced.  This is especially crucial when there’s infectious diseases.

AI solutions continue to be developed at a rapid pace. The long-term impact it could have on patient care is momentously promising.  Radiology generates large quantities of digital data as images.  Using artificial intelligence in medical imagingto include this data into patients’ clinical history will significantly improve diagnosis, treatment planning, screening, follow up, and prognosis.  By using the right AI tools for your healthcare facility, you’ll not only ensure business continuity but considerably improve patient care.

With over 25 years of experience in the high-performance display industry, Double Black Imaging provides ways to make imaging more efficient.  Dedicated to building long-term customer relationships, they are committed to supporting quality products with exceptional customer service.

A nonprofit Healthcare Organization with 12 hospitals stated:
“Our experience with Double Black Imaging and WIDE monitors in our enterprise has been excellent. The product selection and quality has been great to fulfill our needs.  Technical support has been excellent from Double Black Imaging, X-CAL can be run from a server if you have a multi-hospital enterprise as we do and can save the PACS administrator a lot of time.”

Explore Radiology Imaging Systems TodayWhether you’re looking to implement AI into your medical processes or furnish your healthcare facility, Double Black Imaging offers the latest technology at competitive prices and can help install your new device.  Contact our team of radiology imaging experts at Double Black Imaging for help with making the most of your purchase or take a look at our latest medical monitors.

15 Jun 2021

Filling the Gaps in Radiology Workflow

Filling the Gaps in Radiology Workflow

Load balancing, or equitable distribution of radiology workflow, has been a longstanding and widely disputed issue in radiology stemming back to the pre-PACS era. Unequal workloads resulting in unequal compensation have threatened to divide many imaging practices. The introduction of PACS solved many of the imaging and reading problems radiologists used to face, and even saw some groups doubling production, but did not fill in all the gaps in radiology workflow.

The advent of PACS also occurred during a period of healthcare reform that demanded higher production and higher quality benchmarks while lowering reimbursements. And new problems emerged as easier cases were quickly processed while complex cases sat unattended on work lists for days. This has resulted in a full circle return to unequal workload distribution and conflict among radiologists.

Why Is Good Radiology Workflow Important?

Balanced medical imaging workflow is an elusive goal radiologists have pursued for decades due to its widespread effects on both the profession and the healthcare system. And while a radiology practice or department completes many tasks, a study has shown that roughly 80% of radiology workflow problems can be attributed to 20% of its cases. Identifying these problems can help bring about customized solutions.

With radiology being a $100-billion dollar industry, leaders in the field point out “approximately $15 billion to $20 billion of radiology’s expenditures are unnecessary and avoidable. Either the right test is conducted at the wrong time, or patients receive a repeat exam. Regardless, improving workflow can save not only money, but it can also save practices’ and departments’ time.”

Besides saving money, more efficient workflows can help reduce delays in patient care as well as medical record and clinical errors. This can be accomplished through real-time communication to manage and transfer patient data.

Another gap in radiology workflow as a result of the evolution of imaging technology is communication between radiologists and clinicians. It used to be that clinicians had to call and speak to the radiologist about imaging results or physically walk over to the radiology department to discuss and view patient results. Since the introduction of PACS, clinicians can review radiological reports and images anytime from any location. While the importance of face-to-face communication may be debatable, the importance of accurate and timely communication between radiologists and clinicians for patient safety and care remains important to all physicians.

Improved imaging and workflow efficiency also results in better patient care as a result of improved consistency, higher quality imaging, and individualized medical care.

Better working relationships with care providers and more effective use of office hours are other important benefits when radiology workflow is handled efficiently and fairly distributed.

How Has Technology Changed in Radiology?

It is now common to see health systems with different PACS installations from different vendors spread across the networks of imaging centers and hospitals. A shared goal in these systems is to aim for equitable case distribution amongst radiologists across these vast networks, and to try to improve efficiency and workload balance while ensuring the most qualified radiologists are assigned the most complex cases.

Brady concurs, explaining “Orchestrating workflow more efficiently is a win-win-win for patients, physicians, and staff. Patients benefit when the radiologist who’s best equipped for and experienced in reading that type of subspecialized exam is automatically chosen to read it, and it’s routed quickly and efficiently.”

One of the medical imaging workflow problems Double Black Imaging solved is requiring different displays depending on the modality being read. It is not conducive to a smooth workflow if a radiologist has to change workstations to read CT,MR, Nuc Med, Chest, Bone or Mammo/Tomo. Their 8MP and 12MP large format displays enable doctors to read any modality from one large screen. 5MP Color displays provide radiologists a dual monitor set up for multi-modality imaging if two screens are preferred over one.

How Has Technology Changed Medical Imaging Workflow?

To help improve communication between radiologists and clinicians, some radiology departments have found unique ways to use imaging technology. For example, NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City has incorporated virtual radiology rounds and multimedia reporting to improve communication with clinicians.

For virtual radiology rounds, clinicians arrange online meetings with radiologists to review images and reports. “The clinicians and radiologists then use web cameras to see each other during the meetings, and they also remotely share a computer screen and mouse. This allows both parties to point out details on the images, provide feedback, and ask questions — just as they would during in-person consultations….” Not only has this improved communication with clinicians, but radiologists also feel it makes them more “visible” and helps create greater value for patients and referring physicians.

Due to the success of these virtual rounds, radiologists at NYU Langone plan to begin offering virtual consults on demand to physicians’ offices at hospital outpatient departments as well. When the clinician loads the images into the hospital’s PACS, a message will pop up asking them if they want to speak to a radiologist. If the clinician clicks ‘yes’, the radiologist assigned to those cases receives a message on their phone or other electronic device advising them an on-demand consult is being requested. Radiologists at NYU Langone anticipate this service will provide significant value to both physicians and patients while restoring the role of radiologists as consultants and integral members of the clinical care team.

What Impact Will AI and Machine Learning Have on Radiology?

Artificial intelligence, also known as machine intelligence, refers to a wide scope of intelligent functions that can be performed by computers such as planning, language processing, knowledge representation, problem solving, and actual “learning” based on previous data it has reviewed and processed.

While AI is not expected to replace radiologists, it has been compared to the autopilot function on airplanes that relieves pilots of performing repetitive and tedious but necessary safety checks and tasks. Arazi notes that once the COVID-19 pandemic tapers off, AI will play a key role in helping radiologists save lives post-pandemic. He suggests it will do this by helping prioritize growing numbers of non-urgent but important procedures that were set aside due to the pandemic, such as cardiovascular imaging, bone-health scans, and mammography screening.

AI also has the potential to change the role of radiologists from active disease diagnosticians to proactive diagnosticians, assisting patients with early intervention and even preventive care by identifying potential problems before they occur.

Similarly, machine learning is one type of artificial intelligence that can be used to pull, organize, and analyze information from big data sets created by large electronic medical record systems. This information can then be used as a basis for anticipating patient outcomes and clinical decision-making.

In the future, machine learning may also help improve different components of radiology workflow such as radiology reporting, postprocessing and dose estimation, triaging, order scheduling, quality control of exams, detection and interpretation of findings, and support systems for clinical decision-making.

For all your radiology imaging needs, including innovative software solutions and superior medical-grade displays, contact our diagnostic imaging experts at Double Black Imaging. Our unparalleled customer service and highly knowledgeable staff set us apart from the competition, making us the first choice for all your imaging needs.

Source List:

https://www.radiologytoday.net/archive/rt0220p8.shtml
https://www.jacr.org/article/S1546-1440(18)30257-6/fulltext
https://www.diagnosticimaging.com/view/how-streamline-radiology-workflow
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6650448/
https://www.acr.org/Practice-Management-Quality-Informatics/Imaging-3/Case-Studies/Information-Technology/Closing-the-Gap
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6542626/
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/how-ai-will-change-how-radiologists-work/

15 May 2021

Ensuring and Measuring the Value of Radiology Imaging

Radiology Imaging Value

Showing radiology imaging value is easier said than done. That is because the term “value” has different meanings to the different stakeholders involved. Insurance providers and Medicare see value in diagnostic testing when patient results come back positive for a health condition, particularly if the condition is caught early and leads to reduced healthcare costs down the road.

For hospitals and clinics, measuring radiology imaging value includes the ability to obtain high-quality reliable images that reduce the amount of physician time required to make a diagnosis.

For a patient, the value in radiology imaging is in its ability to potentially save their life from a serious health threat, or to help identify a course of treatment so they can begin to feel better again.

So the question becomes which stakeholder’s definition of value is most important? And once this is determined, how can this “value” be measured?

The Complexities of Showing Value in Radiology Imaging

As Kruskal and Larson point out “The question is not whether radiology will survive, but rather what our role will be in the specialty and in the medical field going forward.” Because the term “value” is tied to healthcare costs for payers, radiologists face a number of potential changes to their profession that may not be of their choosing and which they may have little control over.

While technological advancements have resulted in improved capability to diagnose certain health conditions, as well as the ability to diagnose with improved accuracy, they have also driven up the cost of delivering these services. This has caused insurers and others to question the value some of these services offer.

With healthcare costs becoming an increasing financial burden for households and society as a whole, diagnostic imaging has become the scapegoat to blame for these ever escalating costs. In response to political pressure, payers are actively looking for ways to reduce these soaring expenses. Insurers see medical imaging as one area where they can significantly reduce healthcare costs going forward.

Different Types of Metrics

Due to the complex nature of radiology, several different types of metrics are used to monitor and measure performance. Some of the most common metrics in radiology include customer satisfaction, regulatory compliance, clinical productivity, academic productivity, and financial performance.

The key to selecting appropriate metrics that will actually measure what needs to be measured is in choosing indicators that closely align with an organization’s mission. When specific metrics are chosen keeping an organization’s mission in mind, improved service delivery and performance is more likely to be achieved.


  • Process Metrics

    Metrics that measure and provide an overview of the state of an organization’s processes or operations are known as process metrics. Some examples include:

    • Report turnaround time
    • Patient access time
    • Percentage of calls answered within a specified time frame
    • Percentage of biopsy results delivered to the primary care physician and the patient
    • Percentage of undictated cases at a specific number of days
    • Percentage of carotid imaging reports with distal internal carotid artery size as diameter
  •  


  • Outcome Metrics

    Outcome metrics measure the outcomes or clinical impact of an organization’s processes. Examples include measuring the percentage of:

    • Complications
    • Adequate biopsy tissue
    • Falls incidents in the radiology department
    • EVAR patients without major complications
    • Examinations with contrast media reactions
    • Patients with CVC insertion using sterile barrier technique
  •  


  • Volume-Based Metrics

    Radiology practices have historically used volume-based metrics to monitor their performance in patient care delivery in categories like efficiency, customer service, financial performance, and staff productivity. This includes:

    • Staffing efficiency
    • Report turnaround time
    • Equipment use and downtime rates
    • Patient access and wait times
  •  


  • PPACA-Based Metrics

    Since the Supreme Court decision to support passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), several new radiology metrics have been introduced.

    For example, the federal government has introduced initiatives such as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) that encourages physicians to report quality measures that may result in financial penalties.

    In an attempt to control the rising cost of insurance premiums, insurers have implemented programs and contracts aimed at improving accountability and patient outcomes while reducing service costs.

    With the integration of hospitals and healthcare systems, radiology practices that contract with these systems are required to be accountable for some new performance metrics as well. These new metrics are found in categories such as subspecialty expertise, critical findings, turnaround time, use of voice recognition, peer review, and extended hours.

    National radiology professional societies such as the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the American Board of Radiology (ABR) are also working to develop metrics that radiology groups and departments must meet to receive modality and site accreditation or the Maintenance of Certification.

  •  


  • Value-Based Metrics

    More recent value-based metrics measure health outcomes achieved for every dollar spent. This is done by categorizing outcomes at the patient level that are disease specific and based on an overall “episode of care”, regardless of how complex a health episode may be. An episode of care is measured from the onset of symptoms to cure or death of the patient.

 

How Radiologists Can Improve Value-Based Metrics

 

Radiologists can begin to make the shift towards showing radiology imaging value by implementing the following steps:

  1. 1. Commit to continuous learning. Colleagues and other facilities and practices can be a rich resource of information if they have found better ways to work more efficiently and cost-effectively. Be willing to reciprocate and share your knowledge with others.

 

  1. 2. Understand the needs of your referring physicians. Find out what they would like to see improve or change about how you work and then figure out ways to make this happen.

 

  1. 3. Communicate Effectively. Make a point of calling your referring physicians when needed to discuss a patient’s care. Ensure reports are free of errors and unclear interpretations and are produced in a timely manner according to national guidelines.

 

  1. 4. Focus on teamwork. Build trusting collegial relationships with referring physicians to help improve the patient’s’ healthcare experience.

 

  1. 5. Champion the physician role. Radiologists are important stakeholders in the value equation. Offer to join committees and hospital boards and respond positively to feedback.

 

  1. 6. Critically reflect on how to improve your practice. Be willing to explore new ideas and systems that improve patient outcomes and workflows while reducing costs.

 

  1. 7. Collaborate with your IT department to improve workflows. Look for ways to put the needed systems in place to make it easier and faster to produce, read, share, and save reports and communicate about patients.

 

  1. 8. Proactively look for ways to use resources more efficiently. Identify ways to reduce repeat imaging, inappropriate recommendations, and safety related incidents. Look for ways to increase turnaround time and reduce negative patient experiences and feedback. Also, look for ways to demonstrate how the consultative and coordination of services roles in radiology reduce costs through saved physician time “downstream” in a patient episode.

 
Showing and measuring radiology imaging value may not be easy. However, it is essential moving forward as insurers and hospitals increasingly use value-based metrics as performance indicators tied to healthcare reimbursement.

At Double Black Imaging, we are committed to providing innovative imaging and workflow solutions. Our goal is to help providers significantly improve diagnostic imaging quality and stability while improving efficiency and reducing healthcare costs. Contact us to discuss ways to improve these performance metrics in your practice today.

Source List:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1546144018314595
https://www.radiologytoday.net/archive/rt0518p16.shtml
https://www.radiologybusiness.com/topics/quality/survey-radiology-quality-metrics-practices
https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/full/10.1148/rg.2015140221#tbl4
https://www.medicaltranscriptionservicecompany.com/aligning-radiology-metrics-with-the-goals-of-value-based-care/
https://www.diagnosticimaging.com/view/how-value-based-care-affecting-radiology
https://insightsimaging.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s13244-020-00941-z
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23025865/