Radiologists can embrace business analytics without being ‘a computer geek’

Implementing business analytics into radiology operations may seem like a daunting task, but practice leaders must remember they can use such data without building their own in-house tools from scratch.

In the first segment of a three-part talk on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at RSNA 2016, Katherine P. Andriole, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s director of imaging informatics, will try to correct some of the common misconceptions and fears about using business analytics. While Andriole and the other presenters have the high-level experience of building an in-house analytics tool, that won’t be her focus.

“You can use very simple tools—tools like Qlikview or even Excel—and the ability to change your visualizations can give you some ideas about what’s going on,” Andriole said. “The point is that A) it can be very useful and B) you don’t have to be a computer geek to be able to implement these kinds of things.”

Andriole said more practices have begun using business analytics tools since she began giving this talk at conferences several years ago. Still, groups remain unaware of how to implement those systems or don’t know how they could benefit their practices.

In this role, Andriole describes the basics of business analytics: formatting data, data storage, visualization and deciding on key performance indicators, with the first step being aggregation and validation of data which can be spread among different systems such as PACS, a radiology information system (RIS) or billing systems.

Andriole said even if a practice isn’t building its own analytics tools, whatever vendor it brings in must reconcile those systems.

“You would need to ask them, ‘My EHR is X, my PACS is Y, my reporting system is Z and these are the types of things I’m interested in. Can you integrate those things so that I have all that information going into the business analytics tool?’” she said. “You have someone do it for you.”

The second part of the talk, hosted by neuroradiologist Luciano M. Prevedello, MD, MPH, of Ohio State University, will offer a more advanced view of the potential of predictive analytics for radiology practices.

The final part of the presentation will be given by Tessa S. Cook, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She will focus on her development of RADIANCE, an open-source dose monitoring software for CT, as well as the capabilities of current and future business analytics technologies. Andriole said practices can now expect more from vendors in this space rather than adapting technology from other industries.

“I think it’s mature enough now that you will see products, multiple products, out there that are potentially good options,” Andriole said.

You can find more information about the session, entitled “The Use of Business Analytics for Improving Radiology Operations, Quality, and Clinical Performance,” here