Have you ever encountered this situation? A hospital acquires a new piece of equipment and starts doing studies on it. Yet, the hospital administration never inquires if the radiologists consent to read them. Or, the radiologists working there never vetted the reporting systems or the software to interpret them. And, now, the studies sit on the worklist for days until the radiology group can determine the next step. I’m sure some of you have experienced something similar to this. Some radiology residents may have noticed as well. So, what do you do with these errant studies? How do you discuss this topic with the administration? And, what are the following steps to ensure that these studies do not sit on the worklist forever?
Bring The Topic Up For Discussion With Administration And Appropriate Parties
At this point, there is no time to beat around the bush. It would be best if you communicated rapidly and directly with the folks that decided to start the program. Delays can only lead to the ire of the ordering referrer, the patient, and the administration allowing the new study. Even though you may not be directly responsible for the situation, your group can still be in a bind.
So, find the administrator who allowed the study and let them know that you need to discuss the issue further. Also, it is crucial to let the referrer and the patient know that there will be a delay in the interpretation of the study. Communication is the essential element here.
Create A Radiology Committee to Determine If Radiologists Should Consent To The Study
Next, you need to make sure that you abide by the Hippocratic oath to “do no harm.” Some studies can only lead to other studies and procedures that may not be the best for patient care. If that is the case, a committee should decide to nix the procedure from the imaging arsenal. And, the practice should recommend at a high level with objective data that the hospital or imaging center refrains from completing more of these procedures.
On the other hand, if the study does have clinical utility, it behooves the radiologists to ensure that enough staff can read them. It needs to be more than an adequate number of radiologists to make the schedule work. A committee within the radiology practice should also decide to look into these issues before the hospital completes more studies.
Make Sure That The Radiologists Have The Appropriate Training
Assuming the study is clinically valuable, a committee also needs to determine how to ensure that the radiologist will have adequate training and experience to read the study. This preparation may include courses, webinars, direct patient encounters, or supervised learning. The practice should determine the necessary prerequisites.
Interpret The Studies And Build The Program
Once the program has begun, radiologists need to start doing the readings as determined by the committee. Moreover, as part of practice building, it may be worthwhile for these radiologists to talk to community physicians, referrers, or other administrators to make sure that the program grows.
Radiologist Consent And New Studies
Sometimes hospitals and imaging centers can be overly eager to begin a new program to create new sources of revenue. But, lack of communication with the interpreting physicians can lead to its downfall. Radiologists’ reputation and license can be on the line if the hospital and the radiology practice do not take the appropriate steps. So before you consent to start interpreting any new procedure, you need to discuss it with the correct parties, validate it to make sure it is appropriate, train the radiologists, and ensure a process to build a great program. Rome was not built in a day. And, hospitals should not rush through new procedures as well!