Harry Ameredes, M.D., President and Practicing Radiologist
Harry Ameredes, M.D., President and Practicing Radiologist
A North Carolina practice utilizes Intelerad’s Multi-Method Reporting module and voice recognition platform, IntelePACS and InteleOne to achieve 55 percent productivity gains and 25 percent growth.
About Carolina Regional Radiology
Serving a 10-county region in southeastern North Carolina, Carolina Regional Radiology (CRR) is a full-service imaging and interventional radiology practice. Based in Fayetteville, N.C., and performing 500,000 exams annually, the practice has 22 board-certified radiologists who provide radiology services to several hospitals and imaging centers, as well as numerous physician practices and clinics.
Technology Drivers Enable Remarkable 25 Percent Growth During National Decline
As business at imaging centers declines 2 to 7 percent annually, CRR is achieving same-shop annual growth of nearly 25 percent at each of three outpatient centers and is currently experiencing month-over-month procedure gains that are their highest ever. Annual growth in CRR’s mammography business has skyrocketed 40 percent, despite a national trend of 10 to 15 percent decline for this modality.
This remarkable growth is due in large part to CRR’s decision to adopt leading-edge technology solutions from Intelerad, enabling it to streamline workflow, enhance patient care and improve the bottom line. “There is no question that technology has driven the success of our outpatient facility,” says Sheryl Jordan, M.D., a CRR breast imager.
Intelerad Software Offers Superior Solution to Streamline Workflow
In late 2009, CRR reviewed several leading radiology software solutions. CRR President Harry Ameredes, M.D., explains, “We serve many different imaging centers and hospitals, and we needed a solution which allowed us to integrate multiple modalities from several different facilities into one, single workflow.”
Due to the critical nature of the new-technology selection, the process was comprehensive. “We vetted the vendors quite thoroughly,” says Ameredes, “until Intelerad was the only one standing.”
In 2010, CRR deployed Intelerad’s IntelePACS, the KLAS Ambulatory PACS category-leader, and InteleOne, a distributed unified reading solution. Outstanding product capabilities and Intelerad’s comprehensive integration with other radiology software products were key factors in the decision.
In addition, Ameredes praises Intelerad’s philosophy of ongoing innovation and the intuitive nature of its products. He is confident that the Intelerad platform will meet the practice’s future requirements. “We choose this vendor with long?term strategy in mind,” Ameredes says.
Template-Based Reporting Reduces Turnaround Time from Days to Minutes
In 2011, building on the streamlined workflow and other operational improvements facilitated by IntelePACS and InteleOne, CRR deployed Intelerad’s Multi-Method Reporting (MMR) module. MMR blends dictation, voice recognition and structured reports into a single, streamlined interface and workflow.
Jordan praises the ease with which templates can be created and revised using MMR. “The breast imaging templates are clear, compliant with ACR/MQSA, and correct” she says. “They are concise and quick. As a result, they have been extremely well received.”
The move to structured reporting using MMR has had extremely positive, far-reaching impact across the practice. “Intelerad’s Multi-Method Reporting has significantly improved our turnaround time from days to minutes for all engaged modalities,” says Ameredes.
Intelerad Multi-Method Reporting Leads to 55 Percent Productivity Increases
MMR’s templates and voice recognition has enabled CRR radiologists to post impressive, measurable efficiency gains, as measured by work relative value units (wRVUs). Compared to national benchmarks of 65 and 69 wRVUs per radiologist – as reported by RBMA and Medical Management Professionals, respectively – CRR radiologists now average nearly 80 wRVUs using Intelerad’s software.
Further, the ability to achieve daily average wRVUs of 85.2 within CRR’s breast imaging program – a year-over-year increase of 55 percent – is even more astounding given the additional responsibility that breast imagers speak personally with patients, consult with referring physicians and perform breast interventional procedures.
The use of MMR templates also yields clarity, consistency and standardization in reporting, which benefits all parties – technologists, radiologists, clinicians and patients – involved in the patient's care. “I can’t overstate the utility of the templates,” says Jordan, who is seeing significant patient steerage to CRR clinics as a result of CRR’s new and improved processes.
Embedded Voice Recognition Platform a Key Differentiator
Ameredes credits Intelerad for these remarkable improvements. “An efficient workflow with templates and robust voice recognition is critical,” he says. The embedded nature of Intelerad’s voice recognition module is a key advantage for Ameredes. “The other ones run separately alongside the PACS. We wanted an embedded platform over an integrated platform.”
With this subtle but important distinction, radiologists’ reporting efficiency and productivity gains are boosted. When a study is open, Intelerad’s voice recognition capability is ready to go. CRR radiologists “can flip between studies with partial dictation,” says Ameredes, with the system correctly tracking and saving the appropriate data to the appropriate patient.
Also, CRR radiologists need only learn one intuitive interface, eliminating the need to switch between different systems for different facilities. “Before, we were simply using too many vendors at too many different hospitals,” Ameredes says.
Improved Services Lead to Increased Market Share
The improved, technology-driven processes at CRR are gaining the attention of the physician and patient community in southeastern North Carolina. With CRR’s enhanced ability to deliver efficient, high-quality patient care, Jordan says, “We have captured market share from our competitors.”
Jordan and Ameredes are extremely pleased with Intelerad and its technology. “I have nothing but high marks,” Jordan says. “I so appreciate what Intelerad has enabled our program and our facility to achieve.”