Show & Tell, Slowdowns and Showdowns

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Lisa Fratt, Editor

Summer is my favorite time of year. It’s a bit like Christmas in July, when a slew of applications arrive (electronically, of course) for Health Imaging & IT’s annual Top Connected contest.

Our editorial team scrutinizes the applications, considering various metrics such as turn-around time, remote access use, image availability, viewing mechanisms and EMR adoption. For me, however, the real meat comes in the essay question that considers imaging connectivity projects across the enterprise.

Here, it’s the organization’s turn to show and tell. Our winners have deployed iPad apps, spun off IT departments into profit centers, virtualized PACS, implemented telestroke programs and much more. These imaging connectivity powerhouses are basing their decisions on data and backing them up and refining them through careful analysis. They are an impressive group.

This month’s clinical decision support feature tells the tale of utilization slowdown, but it could be relayed as a showdown as we examine the pros and cons of clinical decision support and radiology benefits managers. Do the models compete or complement? Read on to find out.

With CT radiation dose never far from the media hot seat, Health Imaging & IT surveyed readers in June to determine what strategies you are deploying to manage dose and what challenges are confounding the efforts. One valuable lesson? Real-time data are critical. Medicare Hospital Compare data, as reported in the New York Times and Washington Post, placed Ashland Community Hospital in Oregon near the top of the list of offenders for “double” CT studies. Yet, the 2009 data do not reflect the reality of 2011, as the hospital pared its rate to a very respectable 3 percent in the interim between 2009 and 2011.

Finally, we put a new spin on our monthly Imaging Insiders question and answer feature, asking Leonard Berlin, MD, vice chair of radiology at NorthShore University Health System in Chicago, and Richard N. Taxin, MD, vice chair of radiology Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pa., to present both sides of the debate about mandating direct communication of imaging results to patients. The result is a provocative, yet respectful, discussion.

I hope that you are enjoying your summer and find valuable insights in the following pages. If your organization has a show and tell to share, please send it along for our consideration.