Moving Toward More Patient-Centered Care

Hoque, KristinaThis post was contributed by Kristina E. Hoque, MS MD PhD.

Recently, I was fortunate to be invited to speak at the Minnesota Radiological Society Spring meeting on the topic of Patient-Centered Care.  As physicians in a rapidly evolving health care system, it is critical we work to continually refocus, keeping patients at the center of our practice.

Some interesting ideas emerged this week in the move toward more patient-centered radiology —and more patient-centered health care in general.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that their My HealtheVet portal now gives veterans online access to their medical imaging and associated reports.

Patients can view, download and print their radiology images and information, or copy them to a flash drive, DVD, or any other portable drive they choose. They can also install a free viewer on their computer to view the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) images.

The VA says this cuts down on patient visits to the VA to get this information and helps share this information if/when veterans may seek care outside of the VA system.

Personally, I have found that empowering patients with easy access to their own images and reports helps each to better navigate their unique health care journey and engages the patient as an active participant in the decision making process.

Meanwhile, a study by a PhD student at the University of Twente showed that forgoing appointments in favor of walk-in systems enabled departments to provide CT scans to patients more quickly, while capacity utilization rates remained the same or even increased.

The study reports that if patients can get CT scans without an appointment, they may wait a few minutes longer in the waiting room, but tend to be more satisfied. They also do not have to make so many trips to the hospital. The scans are carried out earlier, and patients get their results sooner.

A wide variety of different practices, both academic and private, are making palpable changes to move towards value-based patient-centered imaging. Consider checking out the R-SCAN initiative (the Radiology Support, Communication and Alignment Network)at  www.rscan.org, read through the many inspiring case studies and perhaps plan a project of your own.

I urge you to check out the ACR Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care (PFCC) resources section for tools to help you make your practice facility more patient-centered and get ideas on how other practices and departments  are doing so nationwide.

  • What is your practice or department doing to ensure the care you provide is patient-centered?
  •  Have you already begun using the PFCC toolkit? What resources have been most beneficial for you?

Please provide your thoughts the comments section below or on the Engage discussion board (login required).

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