Credit Where Credit is Due

March 3, 2017
Eric Postal, MD

Positive reinforcement for radiologists.

One of the things I like best about working with vRad is their Operations Center (OC). Many of its functions are geared to maximize the amount of time and attention the teleradiologists can spend as rads: Getting clinicians on the phone, sorting out issues with onsite techs when studies are incomplete or need prior exams, etc. Much of the upswing in my productivity since my last job in a brick-and-mortar imaging center has been thanks to the OC.

So, a couple weeks ago, I get a message from the OC that some onsite clinician wants to talk about a CT I hadn’t read. The telerad who had interpreted the study was no longer on-shift, but the clinician couldn’t be expected to wait however many hours (or days) it might be till that particular rad was available again, so could I pinch hit?

My routine, unless such a clinician needs to speak immediately, is to look over the study and its report. Sometimes, I can identify the issue right away: A silly voice rec typo that needs clarification, for instance. Until matters are resolved, however there’s a lurking sense of potential trouble. Is the clinician going to be angry about something the other rad said (or didn’t say)? What kind of damage control am I about to have to apply? What are the medicolegal implications of my weighing in on someone else’s read?[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"57309","attributes":{"alt":"Positive reinforcement in radiology","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_267889772586","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"7217","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"height: 158px; width: 170px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: right;","title":"©Karramba Production/","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

In this case, there was zero cause for worry. Quite the contrary; the clinician was wanting to express his admiration and gratitude for what he considered a most capable interpretation. Further, the same patient had undergone another study the preceding day (noncontrast; the more recent was enhanced), and that exam had also been reported to the clinician’s great satisfaction.

Now, following my pleasant little communication with the doc, I could have immediately gone back to my worklist, and churn some RVUs to make up for the time I’d spent with this other matter. Fortunately, another inclination hit me.

I shot a message to the OC member who had fielded this inquiry, letting him know that the doc was calling not with a question or complaint, but rather a compliment. And, since I personally had no mechanism to do this, asked if the OC could make a note on the record about how pleased the onsite doc was with the performance of the two telerads who had read the cases. Specifically, to have the note sent to the attention of the two rads, the QA team, and whatever Medical Director(s) might be relevant to the situation.

Otherwise, this positive feedback might have been completely lost to our system and, most importantly, the physicians who had done their jobs well. The OC staffer shot me a happy “Can do!” Back to work I went.

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