Consumers are accustomed to using their mobile devices and digital communication for everyday activities such as buying goods, attending virtual meetings, entertainment and even ordering food.  Healthcare consumers are no different.  In a recent study by Dynex1 which surveyed 1000 adults over 18 years of age, researchers found 80% of patients prefer electronic communication with healthcare providers, but what’s more, 66% of those surveyed claimed they would choose a provider based on that providers ability to communicate in a timely and consistent manner.

Knowing this, Radiology Administrators and Women’s Imaging Directors should immediately consider the addition of digital communication to their standard workflow.  Besides providing patients with what they prefer (immediate results of their screening exams, decreased waste of paper, etc.) leveraging digital communication significantly reduces administrative costs.  Further, in today’s competitive healthcare environment the addition of electronic communications can serve as a significant marketing differentiator in regional markets.

Here are 4 things that happen when digital patient engagement is fully embraced.

Patient satisfaction goes up.

The most beneficial and economical and impactful addition to women’s imaging workflow is  email. Email is a game changer for imaging centers of any size or patient volume. It allows the facility to transform their patient communication process, not only decreasing patient anxiety but streamlining and enhancing the patient’s overall experience with the imaging center.  Communication through email presents opportunities for imaging centers to further market and educate patients beyond a simple reminder of their scheduled appointment time. Offering additional services, gathering patient history (which may reveal a need for additional imaging or pre-qualification for genetic testing) and obtaining satisfaction feedback are valuable tools and offer a great resource for optimizing revenue.

Automated emails sent before an exam allow patients to confirm their appointment and digitally provide other detailed information such as personal and familial history prior to arrival. After a patient exam, the results and suggested next steps for the patient are automatically formatted and sent out via email to the patient and to a referring physician, eliminating manual review and freeing up staff resources. With an automated email and patient history input process, the results are managed, reviewed, and sent out quickly with many patients getting their results the same day their exam was completed.

Data entry and administrative costs go down.

Utilizing digital patient forms allows for the patient to personally update their records from the convenience of their own device. This process removes manual data entry typically recorded by the imaging staff thereby eliminating the chance of data entry errors. At a minimum, patients in a women’s imaging center receive two letters a year reminding them about an upcoming appointment and providing results from an exam or procedure. Paper, printing, and mailing costs average $2 per letter per patient, simply removing these hard costs can provide a profitable and competitive advantage to an imaging center.

Patient experience is enhanced and wait times are eliminated.

Digital documents offer a more secure and efficient way to record, track and manage patient data. When emails are sent to the patient, both the imaging center and patient are communicating though a secure system, allowing patient data to be obtained in real-time with no threat of sensitive information being exposed.  This brings peace-of-mind to the patient knowing they can manage their information safely and conveniently.

The patient can also virtually “check-in” with digital documents by completing medical and history forms from their home or mobile device and proceed directly to the exam room when arriving at the imaging center, eliminating wait time for the patient. If patient’s data needs updating when they arrive at the imaging center, pre-filled forms on a tablet are provided for the patient to update anything and/or provide digital signatures for HIPAA and consent forms.

Overall clinic revenue goes up.

In addition to decreasing the overall cost of running an imaging center, embracing digital communication drives recruitment of new patients, provides peace of mind to existing patients, and increases the likelihood of identifying patients at increased risk of developing cancer.  As noted in the study above, 66 percent of healthcare consumers would choose a provider based on the ability to communicate in a timely and consistent manner.  Recruitment and identification of these patients not only provides an elevated level of patient care, but it also drives recruitment and the need for additional imaging procedures such as breast MRI, ultrasound, etc., keeping those modalities busy and generating additional revenue.

If you are looking for a solution to differentiate, streamline and increase revenue at your imaging center, contact PenRad today.  PenRad provides several automated software solutions for diagnostic imaging that enhance workflow, increase revenue, enhance patient engagement, overall imaging efficiency.  www.penrad.com, 763-475-3388

About PenRad (www.penrad.com)

Founded in 1995, PenRad provides informatics for Breast, Lung, Diagnostic Radiology, and Genetics, optimizing productivity and risk management initiatives. PenRad delivers on promises made regarding revenue enhancement, functionality, multi-vendor interoperability, analytics, and delivery of patient centric results.  PenRad invests within the healthcare community, driving benefits for the future of diagnostic technology, techniques, analysis, and structured data exchange. We provide leadership and software in standardization initiatives in HL7 FHIR workgroups: Clinical Interoperability Modeling Initiative, and the Cancer-Interoperability project supported by the ONC, FDA, CDC, NCI, NIH, RSNA.

  1. Businesswire, December 7, 2021.

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About the author. 

Daniel D. Bickford (www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-bickford) is President of Pintail Strategic Consulting which has provided sales and marketing services to the diagnostic imaging industry, since 2015.  PenRad is a current client of Pintail Strategic Consulting.  Daniel was co-founder of Confirma Inc., the pioneer of breast MRI CAD technology and manufacturer or of CADstream.

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