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All Posts Tagged: covid19

Radiology Regaining Public Trust in Wake of Covid-19

As radiology braces for a surge in imaging procedures in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities must take action to regain the public’s trust that they can undergo imaging exams safely without being at risk for infection. Implementing a number of steps, including universal masking and spacing out imaging exam times to permit adequate time to sterilize imaging suites.

Sanitizing protocols deployed during COVID-19 need to be assessed to determine realistic times between scheduled exams for each type imaging suite, as well as the need for additional staff to perform this enhanced sanitizing efficiently. Logistics for sanitizing waiting rooms, staff rooms, and computer monitors, keyboards, mice/controls, and workstations also need to be determined.

Radiology departments may wish to extend their hours to achieve imaging volume goals. Radiologists may wish to reassess standard exam protocols to determine if and how they could be streamlined. It may be appropriate to determine if implementing clinically proven abbreviated or accelerated protocols, such as those for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), would be clinically appropriate and beneficial.

For hospital radiology departments, plans to continue to provide essential imaging services for patients with known or suspected COVID-19 need to be made, and logistics assessed with respect to plans for imaging virus-free patients. The challenges associated with this are so individualized to a radiology department that they are not within the scope of this article, and are best made by a dedicated task force of administrative staff, technologists, and radiologists.

Once logistics are determined, the daily volume of emergency exams need to be estimated. From these statistics, tiered plans of attainable estimated volumes should be developed. The research companies in the segment of teleradiology recommend developing tiers that include non-urgent time-sensitive exams, elective care, and screening. From this, the scheduling of daily exam workloads for each modality and imaging suite can be developed, as it is highly unlikely that radiology departments will be able to initially achieve their pre-COVID-19 workflows while maintaining strict safety procedures for both patients and department staff. The RSNA COVID-19 Task Force advises that two vital factors that support a slow, gradual ramp-up of imaging volumes are the prevention of increased staff and patient exposures to COVID-19 and the regaining of patient confidence with respect to being safe inside a radiology department.

Staff needs to realistically assess the physical layout and size of their imaging facility. This includes the number of patients who can be accommodated while maintaining safe social distancing in both check-in and patient-only waiting rooms (such as those for diagnostic mammography patients), the ability to initiate one-way traffic flows in hallways, and the size and layout of radiology reading rooms, scanner console areas, and staff work and lounge areas to accommodate safe social distancing. Radiologists whose presence is not required onsite are encouraged to do remote exam interpretation via teleradiology. Advanced Telemed Services has gone a long way in regaining public trust for Teleradiology in these trying times of covid-19.

Telephone and email communication with patients relating to scheduled exams should be initiated so that patients have completed all paperwork prior to arrival. The radiology department staff need to be proactive with patients in advising that COVID-19 risk is low and in explaining the safeguards being taken within the radiology department. It is important to provide calming, fact-based information to patients — and for that matter, radiology staff — to alleviate fears. Any history of COVID-19 exposure by a patient should be obtained and assessed in conjunction with scheduled appointment reminders.

Prior to entry into a radiology department, all patients, staff, and accompanying visitors (if allowed) should be screened for symptoms of COVID-19. A plan is needed for the management of individuals who screen positive or suspicious.

In case if you are a clinic and want to take advantage of teleradiology services, you can visit https://www.advancedtelemedservices.com. We have a rigid platform and an efficient team of professional radiologists who can help you with the diagnosis. For teleradiology services you can get in touch with us at info@advancedtelemedservices.com  or call us at +1(617)909-4766.

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Radiology practice cuts cost in response to Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to dramatic decreases in examination volumes – of up to 80+ percent in some cases – for private radiology practices that rely solely on revenues from examination interpretation, according to a special report from the RSNA COVID-19 Task Force.

The severe economic impact of COVID-19 has forced many practice leaders to take drastic cost-cutting measures to stay open, including decreasing salaries, paid time off, benefits, and hours of work despite increasing work responsibilities, the report’s authors stated. While practices need to be fiscally responsible during these difficult times, it is not possible for groups to cut expenses as a solution to long term profitability.

With no end in sight to the current pandemic, such information could prove actionable for both radiologist workforce and practice financial planning, particularly if a predicted potentially disastrous ‘second wave’ of corona virus disease indeed materializes. Some groups may prove unable to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially fueling trends either toward consolidation into larger radiology groups or toward increased employment by hospitals.

State budgets are taking a hit during the pandemic and in response, Medicaid reimbursement rates are likely to fall even further to make up for state revenue shortfalls. Radiology practices will rely more on Medicaid and self-pay patients in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The Urban Institute estimates that 10.1 million people will lose their employer-sponsored healthcare coverage from a COVID-19-related job loss during the last three quarters of 2020. Of these individuals, the non-profit think tank projects about a third to switch to another source of employer coverage through a family member, but 28 percent will enroll in Medicaid and 6 percent in the non-group market. Even worse, about 3.5 million people in this group will become uninsured by the end of 2020.

Best practices have developed over the years for radiologists, for instance, hanging films migrated to PACs systems. The ability to verify insurance coverage and engage patients early in the collection process must also take a similar evolution.  As patient responsibility and liability continues to increase, groups must engage new and enhanced technology and processes to capture the lost revenue opportunity.

But radiology practices will have to adapt to greater patient engagement with a slimmer workforce. Collecting the most difficult dollars with a streamlined workforce requires more focused technology and effectiveness in the billing cycle.

Technology investments and process improvements in the revenue cycle will be the key to overcoming the financial and operational challenges of COVID-19.  Business intelligence and revenue cycle management systems can also support cost-cutting efforts radiology practices must undertake to increase efficiency amid unfavorable payer mix shifts. A data-driven approach to financial stability is the key to understanding a practice’s cash flow and physician productivity.

Balancing technology with highly trained staff will be crucial to surviving the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. Selecting a revenue cycle management partner who understands the specific challenges in radiology can help practice leaders achieve that balance.

Rethinking revenue cycle management using a blend of technology and training will be a key to succeeding in a post-pandemic world in which there are more uninsured patients, fewer radiologists, and a greater need for efficiency.

While in these trying times, Advanced Telemed Services comes out strong to offer its tele-radiology services for hospitals and clinics in united states. This not only helps provide quick turn around time but also helps in reducing costs per read. Advanced TeleMed can help you evaluate your revenue cycle.

In case if you are a clinic and want to take advantage of teleradiology services, you can visit https://www.advancedtelemedservices.com. We have a rigid platform and an efficient team of professional radiologists who can help you with the diagnosis. For teleradiology services you can get in touch with us at info@advancedtelemedservices.com  or call us at +1(617)909-4766.

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