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Magnetic resonance imaging: Efficiency and data intelligence

Hospital Kirchberg in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg performs roughly 200,000 medical imaging scans within a year.1 This number includes all types of medical imaging scans, but one magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner performs about 6,900 exams each year. As a result of their busy schedule, the radiology department, led by Radiology Manager Paolo Sana, began to monitor their workflow and downtime using a new applied intelligence platform. The analytics help to optimize workflows, increase scan performance and inform decisions.

Implementation of the new program1

Paolo Sana states that Hospital Kirchberg developed a data team during previous evaluations to help drive decisions. This team is comprised of people from the field, which allows the hospital to compare their data and experiences, which can help with analysis and making decisions that fit with the clinical reality.

Sandrine Debelle, a Radiographer and program leader at Hospital Kirchber, believes that the first step towards implementing changes and monitoring the impact must begin with customized dashboards for the department and facility. This dashboard can help monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) by combining machine and workflow data, which could be different for each location or facility. However, their new platform allows these dashboards to monitor across modalities and vendors. The program then combines the machine and workflow data to provide actionable information.

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Benefits observed at Hospital Kirchberg1

The benefits of the program that creates a set of dynamic and comprehensive dashboards that provide key acquisition and analytic measurements are many. Hospital Kirchberg's radiology department staff rely on this information to deliver excellence in their imaging services. The goal of such a platform is to optimize workflow and increase performance, as well as allow for more informed decisions.

In order to optimize the workflow, the department decided to review the workflow of three different kinds of exams, including knee, analyzed lumbar spine and cervical spine exams. They assessed throughput for each day and hour. Then, they evaluated the exam mix and average duration, monitoring for inactivity. As a result, the facility was able to determine that each of these scans could be done in a shorter exam time. Their patient throughput could be increased by 30% with the adjustments that were gradually implemented after these analytics, as the adjustment led to a more optimized workflow.

Optimizing the workflow can lead to an increase in the performance of the scan. This helps to not only increase throughput but also to reduce backlog. As the schedule is adjusted, more patients may be scanned in a day. In addition to optimizing scan time, analysis of the scans can help to identify variations. These variations could shed light on some training opportunities that may not have originally been apparent. With this training, the department may be able to standardize and optimize their protocols, driving consistency of care.

Finally, the data provided through the analysis can lead to a more informed decision. By using this information to identify opportunities for improvement, the radiology department can make further decisions about training or protocol changes. This also allows them to manage their referrals and examination mix. The gradual shift in scheduling taken by Hospital Kirchberg allows the hospital to more accurately assess the effect of these choices.

As a result of the insights provided by Hospital Kirchberg's new platform, which features analysis of their current protocols and training plans, the hospital has seen a decrease in down time. This is the result of the program determining down time during a scheduled exam, allowing them to shorten the average appointment. The shortened appointment allows them to increase patient throughput. Meanwhile, the analytics help to improve efficiency, optimize the workflow and inform the department's decisions.

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References:

  1. MR Excellence Program is a beacon for optimizing MR imaging workflow and the patient experience. SIGNA Pulsehttp://www.gesignapulse.com/signapulse/spring_2019/MobilePagedArticle.action?articleId=1488818&app=false#articleId1488818. Last accessed August 22, 2019.