Integrated reading rooms in urologic oncology clinics could better care quality

Installing integrated reading rooms within urologic oncology clinics could improve quality of care, according to a report published online Jan. 31 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Though the advent of digital imaging could hamper close communication between radiologists and referring clinicians, it could also allow for the innovation of new practice approaches.

Lead author Andrew B. Rosenkrantz, MD, MPA, of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues wrote, “One means of taking advantage of this possibility is to establish a reading room directly within the clinicians’ practice location. Such ‘integrated’ reading rooms, located for instance within a hospital-based or physician office-based outpatient clinic, provide increased accessibility of radiologists to clinicians at the point of care, thereby potentially improving the quality of their communication in patient care.”

Rosenkrantz and colleagues adopted an integrated radiology reading room within an office-based urologic oncology clinic, described the initial experience of its design, assessed its impact on consultations and investigated the strength of clinician collaboration.

The reading room was within ten feet of the space used by the clinics’ urologists between patient encounters to review the electronic medical record and consult with nursing staff members. Six fellowship-trained abdominal radiologists were staffed in the reading room and seven urologic oncologists were in the clinic during the study period.

Of the 102 consultations that occurred during the study period, 52 percent were for review of external cases brought in by patients on discs, 43 percent were for review of internal cases and five percent for direct review by the radiologist of imaging with patients. During a single shift in the reading room, the maximum number of consultations was eight. All urologists recorded that more than 90 percent of consultations benefited patient care.

“Clinically integrated reading rooms may have increasing importance as radiologists are expected to play a central role in ensuring appropriate imaging utilization within new models of care promoted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Future studies may evaluate the impact of the integrated reading room on clinical management and outcomes,” wrote Rosenkrantz and colleagues.