The retrieval and organization of patient records and images is increasingly complex. And there’s no shortage of patients in need of cardiovascular care. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is listed as an underlying cause of death for about 1 in every 3 Americans.
Cardiology departments that receive referrals from outside their network are often at a disadvantage when trying to schedule new patients. They lack medical records, images, and corresponding reports that are needed to make these first appointments as meaningful as possible. Cardiology is just one of the specialties where eHealth Technologies can help to reduce record review time for the clinical team. This allows practitioners to be better prepared with more time for a patient’s first appointment.
Why is retrieving records and images for cardiology patients so complex? Here are four key factors:
- Images and reports are critical for cardiology patients.
Most cardiology patients will have already had multiple diagnostic tests performed by the time they are referred to a specialist for treatment. With some specialties, just reports are needed. For cardiology patients, the clinical team needs the actual medical images, such as an echocardiogram or a cardiac CATH, and the corresponding reports.
Knowing what really needs to be retrieved gives the clinical team a complete picture of a patient’s history.
- The source of records can be a doctor’s office or a hospital – and you have to know how to best work with both types of locations.
Due to the nature of primary care and cardiology services, patients might have records and images that need to be retrieved from a doctor’s office and/or a hospital location. Each office and organization coordinates record release in its own way and keeping track of the right contact is cumbersome.
We find that requests to a doctor’s office often requires multiple follow-up calls. Our team has a schedule of calls that are completed daily to ensure records are obtained as quickly as possible, in a way that maintains a positive relationship with the office’s administrative staff, to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
Without a dedicated team to continue follow-up calls and continually track that information, it can take weeks to obtain important records.
Navigating hospitals for record retrieval has its own challenges for cardiology patients. Records can reside in multiple departments – medical records, medical imaging, cardiology, cardiac catherization lab, etc.
Understanding hospital vs. physician office operations and knowing where to go for each type of record request expedites the retrieval process.
- Clinical teams need access to medical images via their own PACS.
With Streamlined Integration services, customers can have medical images sent directly to their PACS system. Not having to download from CDs, QA files, and then upload them to the PACS saves valuable time and eliminates a costly, manual process.
We know that many cardiology departments have their own PACS system, separate from the main system used by the rest of the hospital. Integration solutions can be customized so that cardiology images are pushed to a separate PACS system, while not interrupting the flow of images being uploaded for other departments in your organization from eHealth Technologies to the main PACS system.
Streamlined access to medical images allows clinical teams to access patient information faster.
- Cardiology reports are complex and sometimes illegible.
Some reports for cardiology patients, such as tracings, can be difficult to read when they are sent via fax. With propriety techniques to ensure that the reports are fully legible for the clinical team, valuable time savings are created. This can also eliminate the need for a patient to repeat tests.
A specialized understanding of cardiac-specific reports and the optimal way to retrieve and deliver this information drives greater efficiencies across the cardiology department.
Support for cardiology departments will continue to be a growing need for health systems. The American Heart Association projects that through 2030, medical costs of Coronary Heart Disease will increase by 100 percent. We are committed to ensuring that clinicians have the information they need for a patient’s first appointment. This not only can decrease time to treatment, but it can improve the patients’ experience, and contribute to an overall increase in staff satisfaction at your institution.
Our best practices for record retrieval and organization for cardiology departments is improving care and impacting the lives of clinicians and patients – which is always our top priority.