Founded by a small group of radiologists in 1968, Radiology Imaging Associates P.C. has played a role in shaping the practice of radiology – both in its own community and around the world. Since its inception, RIA has been a pioneer in the use of technology. For example, in the late 1970s, it was the fifth organization in the U.S. to purchase a CT scanner. Twenty years later, it was one of the first radiology practices in the region to implement PACS and RIS systems, as well as virtual reading rooms, which enabled it to easily provide 24 hours/day, seven days/week coverage for the hospitals and physicians it serves.
Today, RIA remains committed to innovation, serving 35 hospitals in five states that span from the Midwest to Hawaii, with its staff of 80 radiologists reading hundreds of thousands of studies per year.
A Long-term Partner
One of Intelerad’s first customers in the USA, RIA’s relationship with the company’s founders dates back to 1999. At the time, it was struggling with a legacy PACS, experiencing stability issues and stuck using costly, dedicated workstations. Meanwhile, Intelerad emerged with one of the industry’s first software-only PACS offerings and a licensing model that permitted unlimited user licenses with a viewer that operated on common Microsoft Windows-based workstations.
This system, which would become IntelePACS, was deployed to RIA in 2000. It also marked the start of a collaborative relationship that has allowed RIA’s team to play a role in the solution’s evolution. “Over the past 16 years, we’ve seen the continual development of Intelerad’s solutions,” said Matt Fleishman, M.D., a radiologist with RIA, who previously worked on many of the organization’s IT-related projects. “Their feature set is increasingly rich, and they’re adding a lot of value to their products by listening to the people who use them.”
Leveraging a Cross-Enterprise Workflow
Today, RIA uses InteleOne as their medical imaging platform. A cross-enterprise workflow solution, InteleOne allows it to connect to its customers’ existing medical imaging systems, then provides the radiologist with the data and information they need using a single worklist and viewer. This saves users a great deal of time, as they no longer have to switch between systems to read cases or gather patients’ prior images and reports, which may be spread across different repositories within their imaging ecosystem.
In terms of collaborative care, InteleOne allows radiologists to easily be consulted (by colleagues or referring physicians) on cases from one hospital while reading onsite for another. In addition, the solution’s Web-based architecture facilitates remote reading, providing a consistent user experience and access to data from across the enterprise, regardless of where the radiologist is located. “InteleOne is great for reading or following up on critical results from home,” Fleishman said. “You get the same robust, easy-to-use viewer, and performance is as good as being in the hospital.”
Using InteleOne to Drive Performance
Highly focused on performance, RIA’s turnaround time for a stat study is typically between 8-15 minutes. This includes reads that are conducted during peak periods and overnight. Unsurprisingly, the group’s abilities have helped it develop business relationships with large healthcare providers.
For one healthcare provider in particular, RIA radiologists read for three hospitals. Originally, this meant reading more than 500,000 studies per year using the healthcare provider’s PACS. While this provided satisfactory results, it was clear to RIA that moving this caseload to InteleOne would provide tremendous gains in regards to productivity and patient care.
RIA would be able to leverage InteleOne features and internal patient care workflows around critical results notification with their Clinical Call Center, impressions, Tech QA and eventually Peer Review. In addition, InteleOne provides RIA’s radiologists with access to relevant patient data stored across the healthcare provider’s imaging ecosystem, allowing the ability to easily compare relevant imaging studies; resulting in advanced quality and patient care.
Beyond patient care, this results in potential efficiency gains for the radiologists. “In a declining reimbursement situation, being efficient is important,” Fleishman said. “It’s not our main reason for using InteleOne, but it’s an important by-product.”
An Easy of Transition from Legacy PACS to InteleOne
For RIA’s IT department, transitioning the healthcare provider’s massive caseload to InteleOne was relatively easy, as it required zero data migration. Instead, InteleOne connects directly to the customer’s legacy systems and pulls the information into RIA’s workflow. Once the radiologist has finished reading the exam, the study is saved back into the customer’s legacy PACS.
“For our IT team, the transition from the healthcare provider’s legacy PACS to our InteleOne deployment was a non-event,” said Joe Bajek, RIA’s director of information technology. “We did a lot of testing up front, which made going live quite easy.”
Enabling Novel Staffing
Leveraging InteleOne’s Web-based architecture and providing all radiologists with access to their entire imaging ecosystem also has allowed RIA to be creative with its staffing. With offices in both Denver and Hawaii, the two sites are able to cover each other’s overnight reads. In addition to allowing Hawaiian staff to leave earlier in the day, it ensures that a greater amount of reads are being conducted during the overnight shift, which adds value to the organization. “With other systems, image transfer was slow. So, for a radiologist in Hawaii, opening a case took much longer,” Fleishman explained. “With InteleViewer, whether I’m in Denver or Hawaii, there’s no difference in performance. When I click on a case, it just opens.”
According to Fleishman, this level of performance also has benefits in terms of radiologists’ morale. “When we deployed InteleOne to our Hawaii site, one radiologist gave us a call and told us ‘you changed my life,’ ” Fleishman said. “In addition to making radiologists more efficient, it makes my life better by making it more enjoyable to come to work. In my opinion, that makes for a better radiologist.”
For Bajek, InteleOne is a cornerstone product that enables RIA to provide high quality service to their customers. “InteleOne is a great product,” he said. “We also have a great relationship with Intelerad, and they’re responsive to our needs, so expectations are definitely being met.”
For more information: www.intelerad.com