Mammography system helps keep breast centers on track

February 11, 2006

Acquiring information about mammography procedures is one thing. Using that information in a report and follow-up is something else. That's where programs like MagView come in. The mammography information system can be configured with integrated scheduling, billing, radiology reporting, transcription, patient tracking, management reporting, and equipment quality control.

Acquiring information about mammography procedures is one thing. Using that information in a report and follow-up is something else. That's where programs like MagView come in. The mammography information system can be configured with integrated scheduling, billing, radiology reporting, transcription, patient tracking, management reporting, and equipment quality control.

The Mammography Quality Standards Act demands much of this information. Data from mammograms, including screening exams, must be recorded and reported in detail.

Analyses using MagView allow reporting and tracking of each radiologist in the group. Data include the number of positives and negatives, both true and false; positive predictive values; sensitivity; specificity; cancer detection rates; and recall rates. Compiling this information as part of the MQSA mandate is an enormous burden on breast imaging centers.

But mammography information systems would be necessary even without MQSA. Optimizing workflow is a critical component of any successful operation, given the relatively low reimbursement provided for mammography.

MagView helps streamline operations, but in a way that suits the character of the radiologist. Record keeping reflects preferences. Radiologists can dictate, use check-off sheets, or create reports at a workstation using a report generating tool called AutoScribe. This tool allows radiologists considerable latitude in entering data, which can be input in the order they believe is most appropriate.

"Radiologists want to use their own words, and everybody thinks a little differently in the order of their binding, so we let them enter the data any way they want," said John Zink, director of MagView, the Burtonsville, MD, company that bears the same name as its product. "We allow them to modify those words to fit their sentence structure yet still conform to BI-RADS (the American College of Radiology's Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System), so the reports look like they were generated by a radiologist instead of a computer."

Convenience features, such as single-click fill-ins for negative reports and electronic signature, help speed the reporting process. Radiologists can also go back to past screens without losing data.

"Until you actually sign in and release the report, you can change any information you want," Zink said.

The program's patient scheduler system logs appointments, while providing an automated telephone reminder that alerts patients to upcoming visits. An integrated billing program helps keep revenues on track.

Quality assurance functions built into the product allow administrators to select data over any range of time, procedure subset, or group of radiologists. Analyses can be conducted separately for baseline studies, as well as exams that were and were not compared. Reports can be viewed in summary or detail mode. Data can be transferred to use in HIS/RIS and PACS.

MagView grew from efforts at the ACR, where software engineers were charged with developing an information system to help implement BI-RADS. The ACR moved the software to the private sector, where its scope and flexibility have since been extended.

MagView today goes beyond the conventional, handling results from not only x-ray mammography but ultrasound, MR, and biopsy. Zink and his staff are continually enhancing the software, issuing one or two updates annually. They also help sites reconfigure installed systems to handle changing needs.

The overall service provided by MagView is becoming increasingly important, according to Zink, as breast centers labor under new regulations and the inherent need to be ever more efficient.