How Taking Radiology Reporting Online Can Help Trusts

Digital transformation is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan, with the goal of the NHS becoming paperless by 2023. But why should your trust use technology such as Rio Order Communications for radiology reporting?

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Standards for the communication of radiological reports and fail-safe alert notification


Problems with Paper Reporting

There are many issues with paper reporting in radiology not just for patients but also for clinicians, they include:

  • Security
  • Time
  • Lack of clarity
  • Worse outcomes for patients

Paper reporting in radiology is still a widespread issue, a recent audit undertaken on behalf of The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) found that only 34% of radiology departments have an automated alert system in place and 17% have the facility for service wide electronic tracking of radiology reports [Audit of radiology communication systems for critical, urgent, and unexpected significant findings]. Due to the nature of paper reporting and the effects that this can have on the care patients receive, the RCR has commented that “the current situation poses unacceptable risks and consequences for patients and radiology departments.”

With paper-based processes, information can easily be misplaced, and clinicians are often unaware when results are ready. The security of patient data is at risk if important information is misplaced, leading to a lack of trust between patients and clinicians. It is vital for the safety of many patients that the time between tests, results being received, and the correct care being given is as short as possible. Paper reporting can prolong this process; results do not trigger reports altering doctors meaning they must manually check for results and paper is returned to the ward to be reviewed, making tracking the paper trail difficult.

Unclear handwriting and insufficient space for full information can lead to a lack of clarity in results. When using paper, sections can be left incomplete, and due to the lack of clarity, a patient can be registered in the system again, wasting time and resources.

All these issues lead to poorer outcomes for patients as they are not able to receive the care they need when they need it. By using online radiology reporting systems such as Rio Order Communications and Results Reporting, these problems can be removed or minimised and patient outcomes and experiences can be improved.

What Online Radiology Reporting Can Do

When taking radiology reporting online, reports can be linked linked in with other EPR functions within Rio. This means that when actions need to be taken from tests, they can trigger reports to clinicians, sent via email or SMS, reducing the time between results and giving patients the right care. It also means that consultants and GPs can read and acknowledge radiology reports in the context of comprehensive clinical information for that patient. This gives a clear and correct picture of the patient’s health alongside other EPR functions.

Online reporting adds security to results processing. Results are inputted when they are received, meaning correct information is available to clinicians immediately. This creates a much more secure and confidential process as paper reports and results sheets are not lost and patients can trust that their personal information is secure.

Using online reporting can reduce time spent by clinicians as processes are optimised. Ordering processes can be configured with frequently used tests and order sets. The system will also remember recent orders. Duplication is also reduced as more detailed information is inputted and linked immediately to the correct patient, preventing them being tested twice for the same condition.

Rio Order Communications and Results Reporting is aligned with the Carter Review which highlights efficiencies to be made in the NHS, specifically around more effective use of radiology services to improve patient outcomes. It has been proven to reduce time spent ordering by 30% and had a 100% reduction on ‘chasing results.’ The 100% reduction is achieved as the system will notify clinicians when results are ready to be reviewed meaning they never have to chase for results.

By implementing online reporting trusts can:

Save on costs and increase efficiencies by eliminating manual processes. This improves overall data quality and reduces the costs associated with processing paper requests.

Enhance patient care and safety by giving clinicians the confidence that an order has gone to the right place, then instant access to up-to-date results.

Align with the NHS paperless target, saving millions, improving services, and meeting the challenges of an ageing population and the increasing demands on health services.

Achieve goals set out in the 10-year plan to provide ‘digitally enabled care.’ Online radiology reporting is a step towards becoming ‘fully digitised’ by 2024.

Want to know more about how online reporting can help you?
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