Impact of COVID-19 Workflow Changes on Patient Throughput at Outpatient Imaging Centers
Acad Radiol . 2021 Mar;28(3):297-306. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2020.12.016. Epub 2021 Jan 4.
Gregory Chang, Ankur Doshi, Hersh Chandarana, Michael Recht
Rationale and objectives: To determine the impact of COVID-19 workflow changes on patient throughput at the outpatient imaging facilities of a large healthcare system in New York City.
Materials and methods: COVID-19 workflow changes to permit social distancing and patient and staff safety included screening at the time of scheduling, encouraging patients to use our digital platform to complete registration/safety forms prior to appointments, stationing screeners at all entrances, limiting waiting room capacity, implementing a texting system to notify patients of delays, limiting dressing room use by encouraging patients to wear exam-appropriate clothing, and accelerating MRI protocols without reducing image quality. We assessed patients' pre-exam wait times, MR exam times, overall time spent on site, and registration for and use of the digital portal before (February 2020) and after (June 2020) implementation of these measures.
Results: Across 17 outpatient imaging centers, workflow changes resulted in a 23.1% reduction (-6.8 minutes) in all patients' pre-exam wait times (p <0.00001). Pre-exam wait times for MRI, CT, ultrasound, x-ray, and mammography decreased 28.4% (-10.3 minutes), 16.5% (-6.7 minutes), 25.3% (-7.7 minutes), 22.8% (-3.7 minutes), and 23.9% (-5.0 minutes), respectively (p < 0.00001 for all). MR exam times decreased 9.7% (-3.5 minutes) and patients' overall time on site decreased 15.2% (-8.0 minutes). The proportions of patients actively using the digital patient portal (56.1%-70.1%) and completing forms electronically prior to arrival (24.9%-47.1%) increased (p < 0.0001 for both).
Conclusion: Workflow changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure safety of patients and staff have permitted higher outpatient throughput.
Read Full Article Here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2020.12.016