As someone who’s been in the healthcare industry for more than 15 years, I’ve witnessed major changes in the world’s largest and fastest-growing industry – from new technologies transforming the way physicians engage with patients and make decisions, to the transition from fee-for-service to value based care including MACRA incentives. While there’s certainly no shortage of possibilities in health IT, it’s been clear that radiologists, in particular, are yet to reap the benefits of modern technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning – despite mounting pressures and ever-increasing workloads. Understandably, they’re growing frustrated.
In a recent Medscape report, 49% of radiologists reported experiencing burnout – citing spending too many hours at work, feeling like a “cog in a wheel,” and excessive bureaucratic tasks as the most common factors. Given this burnout, it’s no surprise that radiologists are also among the unhappiest physicians.
Industry pressures and regulations are forcing today’s radiologists to read 30% more studies while making the same money as they’ve made in years past, and demands on documentation are growing significantly for all physicians. Unfortunately, it seems that these issues will only become more of a challenge.
Today’s radiology tools
Radiologists are using yesterday’s tools to solve tomorrow’s problems, and not even big box companies have figured out how to fix it. While technology has become available to aid physicians at the point of interpretation or documentation, they really need tools preemptively to give them the right information to support them throughout the care process. Because we, as industry leaders, haven’t evolved to meet the needs of today’s radiologist, we have to change the tools we are providing these physicians to support ultimate productivity and quality outcomes.
Niche vendors and developers have been hard at work filling the gaps in between systems and driving innovations that can be a lifesaver for physicians amid all this change. In an Imaging 3.0 world that has driven the deconstruction of the Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS), opening up image access and viewing for every radiologist, my personal battle cry for the healthcare industry is to disrupt the status quo and finally provide these physicians with modern technology that’s useful, usable and used.
Advancing tools for tomorrow
With all this, I’m excited to announce we have added two solutions for workflow orchestration and lung cancer screening to our diagnostics portfolio to improve radiologists’ experience and help them be more efficient and productive through the lifecycle of the patient − not only with smartly balancing their workloads, but also streamlining documentation and decision making. These proven solutions are innovated by Primordial, a leader in custom radiology solutions, which has been working closely with healthcare leaders and building tools to drive innovation and workflow improvements for more than a decade.
With the newly-named PowerScribe Workflow Orchestration and PowerScribe Lung Cancer Screening solutions, radiologists have end-to-end screening program tools and intuitive work lists that actually inform and triage what the radiologist has to do next and what needs to be in the diagnostic report. This makes that 30% more work a radiologist faces feel more like 15% by automating more of the process. By connecting across disparate systems to centralize and consolidate data, the tool improves productivity and eliminates inefficiencies that frustrate physicians.
I’m excited about this whole new paradigm of insights and AI available to radiologists, and to be actively working with the American College of Radiology and industry-leading healthcare organizations to support radiologists at this pivotal time of transition.
As pressures and demands increase for radiologists, it’s up to us as industry leaders to arm radiologists for success. We’re joining the movement at Nuance and need everyone else in the healthcare industry to do the same.