Streamlining the Radiology Consultation Service in the Digital Era.
J Am Coll Radiol. 2017 Nov;14(11):1464-1467. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2017.07.022. Epub 2017 Sep 23. Retrouvey M1, Trace AP2, Johnson LS2, Shaves S2.
As Imaging 3.0TM comes to the forefront, radiology departments across the country keep looking for ways to add value to health care teams . Being accessible to the clinical team is critical in the modern health care environment as imaging techniques and protocols have become more sophisticated. Determining correct protocol and answering referring clinicians’ questions in a timely manner are essential to every radiology department’s workflow. However, in a world driven by productivity, radiologists must integrate into clinical teams without sacrificing their productivity. As radiologists, it is our duty to help our clinical colleagues and ensure our patients get the most appropriate imaging, but we must do so efficiently. To fill this need, the idea of a radiology consultation service was proposed over 20 years ago, and many institutions have since implemented such services [2,3]. To better serve our patients and colleagues, our radiology department adopted such a service in March 2014. A dedicated pager system was established, making a radiology resident available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to all in-house radiology techs to help determine correct protocol and answer referring clinician questions. The consultation rotation has been incorporated into the existing gastrointestinal or fluoroscopy procedural service during work hours. After hours, the resident on call is responsible for the service. Although the service has been a valued addition in the 3 years since implementation, junior residents frequently have basic ordering- and contrast-related questions. Other questions are more specific and require additional assistance from senior residents or attendings, who may be actively engaged in reading studies, performing procedures, or working at a different location. Going through various phone trees and secretaries to find help was time-consuming and impaired patient care. Given these constraints, how could we improve our consultation service and modernize our communications?