How can increasingly complex imaging processes in radiology be sustainably optimized? Is it possible to tailor a workflow analysis precisely to the workflows used in a radiology department? And, how can defined quality standards be upheld with fewer resources?
Siemens spoke with Professor Joachim Lotz, MD, Director of the Institute of Clinical and Interventional Radiology at the University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany. He is considered an expert in the area of cardiac and liver imaging. Lotz has been the head of the institute since spring 2010, and has been driving forward extensive restructuring activities and improvements in radiology processes. Since the medical center’s radiology department engaged Siemens in the Act on Radiology consulting project, visible changes have been made there.
Act on Radiology is a new approach from Siemens that aims to optimize workflows in radiology. What were the major factors in your decision to participate in the project?
LOTZ: There were several reasons. For one thing, I liked the concept a lot: a short evaluation phase that focuses less on the economic aspect, and more on organizational matters and the ‘soft’ factors that affect a department. Economic data are so called hard data, which makes them very easy to review. But the other side – organizational and workflow optimization – is very hard to capture in quantitative terms. Act on Radiology makes it possible to capture and evaluate quantitative data on precisely this kind of organizational maturity. With Act on Radiology, you get a good overview of the organizational structure, which helps with planning to make sure the department is ready for the future.
What do you consider to be the main benefits of Act on Radiology? What would you tell a colleague he or she could get from this approach?
LOTZ: Recommending this approach to colleagues – actually, I’ve already done that several times! You become aware of where there is further room for organizational improvement. After all, there are always various fires to put out. Act on Radiology helps tell the minor sparks from the wildfires. And Act on Radiology also provides a structured ranking of the possible improvements.
Are there specific things you have put in place because of the Act on Radiology analysis? And what kinds of concrete improvements have you seen?
LOTZ: A lot! Our institute is being completely restructured, and Act on Radiology helped me to define which areas to tackle first. The activities we are involved in range from complication and quality management to training and continuing education and internal further education courses. Complication management and quality management are the areas where we have benefited most from this approach.
To whom would you recommend Act on Radiology more: someone who is just developing a new department, or also radiologists who have already established operating practices, clinics, or institutes?
LOTZ: Both. For someone who is starting out, it is helpful to have an outside perspective to find out where it is possible to improve the department. For someone who has been in business for a while and follows the same long-established workflow every day, it’s an opportunity to ask yourself: Is the way we are working still in line with current practice? Is it still oriented toward the future? Act on Radiology supports these kinds of questions
Improvement of the quality of radiology through guideline-adherent treatment and design of mature clinical processes
Objective foundation for strategic decisions
Defined efficiency and quality of processes
Notable budget allocation for further improvements
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