Tracking Imaging Center Operations with Web-based RIS/PACS

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon

Case Study: Dynamic Medical Imaging  |  Columbus, Ohio

Sponsored by an educational grant from GE Healthcare & Dell

  Dennis Schiraldi, director of business development at Dynamic Medical Imaging in Columbus, Ohio, generates a variety of reports from the Centricity RIS/PACS-IW on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to monitor and track business trends and productivity.

Many facilities have now seen the benefits of utilizing Web-based RIS/PACS as a means to stay competitive, maximize relationships with the physician community, reduce expenses and streamline billing. Outpatient imaging center, Dynamic Medical Imaging in Columbus, Ohio—the first in the community to implement stand-up MRI when it opened its doors in 2006—knew it was not a question of whether to implement a Web-based RIS/PACS—but which one to buy. The facility, that has a service area of 1.7 million people and attracts referrals across a 4-hour radius, multi-state area, ultimately chose the Centricity RIS/PACS-IW from GE Healthcare.

Entering the outpatient imaging center market in the wake of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) requires a strong business plan. Gone are the days of opening an outpatient imaging center, employing a staff, choosing some technology, developing marketing and referring physician relationships and then seeing the business flow through the door. An outpatient imaging center can look to Web-based RIS/PACS to service the needs of its clientele and achieve a competitive edge.

“With [Web-based RIS/PACS], I’m able to give the physician a tie to our facility,” says Dennis Schiraldi, center administrator and director of business development for Dynamic Medical Imaging. “Every opportunity to create a referral pattern than you can take advantage of is extremely important. I am interested in giving my clients what they need in the way that they are able to get images and reports back in a timely manner.”

Some physicians want to see the images on a CD, others want them via the internet and a very small percentage—about 10 percent—still want film. By giving physician’s Web-based access through an internet IP address, via a user name and a password, patient images can be reviewed from any location, even on PC workstations.

Schiraldi says that a key benefit of the system is the ability to organize and track referring physician data. “When you have more than 425 referring physicians whose needs have to be met—that can be challenging,” he says. A report can be generated weekly based on patterns of referring physicians.

In addition to seeing patients, Dynamic Medical is involved in research trials with the local state university. Without a RIS, Schiraldi says he would have to employ a person on a full-time basis to manage that entire research project.

“Although we’re a single modality, one MRI center, we need to keep all that information accurate. We need to keep it organized and efficient and [I] truly believe that the Centricity-IW gives us the best ability to do that,” he notes.

With Web-based RIS/PACS, the center also has gained the ability to construct reports to monitor business operations—breaking them down by part and as a whole—as well as patient schedules. “It is important to know if we’re scheduling patients effectively, whether or not insurance coverage has been verified, because that tells us whether or not we’re going to get paid for services that we’re providing,” he says.

There are more than 125 different reports to slice and dice business operations on a daily, monthly, quarterly and annual basis. Dynamic Medical utilizes a variety of those RIS reports to audit the business, Schiraldi says.

“With these reporting methods, I’m able to go out and market the business while managing it at the same time because there are certain checks and balances in place,” Schiraldi notes. “I am able to be center manager and marketer to manage the business with the comprehensiveness and the robustness of the system.”

Careful tracking enables the facility to watch a key data point, collection rate—which runs more than 90 percent. “In the post-DRA era, it becomes extremely important to maximize your return on investment. These systems not only minimize the amount of staff you have to put out there, but also improves collection rates through the scheduling features of the RIS,” he says.

With the RIS, workflow functionality is in place that as data are populated by the patient coordinator, the appropriate data must be