The Importance of Implementing Analytics and Reporting Into Your Radiology Practice

June 16, 2020

While data and analytics reporting has grown immensely throughout other industries, it is still highly underutilized in radiology.

While data and analytics reporting has grown immensely throughout other industries, it is still highly underutilized in radiology. Practices are often intimidated by transitioning into new data systems for fear of using them incorrectly. However, radiological analytics and reporting can be a major asset for any practice, especially in weathering the turbulent times of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Incorporating analytics and reporting into your practice can enhance clinical care and operations, fix billing errors and cut costs. This will not only improve your practice, but will also help it to stay afloat in the ever-evolving industry and for the remainder of this pandemic. Below, I dive deeper into three benefits of implementing analytics and reporting and how each can positively impact your practice.

Examine Data for Operational Efficiency

The more radiological data becomes available, the more responsibility you have with managing it, especially across multiple platforms. Today’s radiologists often use multiple data systems – possibly one for each partnering hospital they work with – which could lead to massive operational headaches depending on how many partners these systems are spread across. If they are not streamlined consistently, errors, such as failing to visualize and predict trends, detect gaps, or draw accurate correlations, could arise.

Thankfully, advanced reporting tools that simultaneously manage multiple radiology systems and workstations can effectively handle information overload within practices. Leveraging these tools allows data to be aggregated and consolidated from various platforms into one common system. This converts the data into a more easily functional format that improves radiologists’ overall productivity.

In relevance to the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread implementation and utilization of these advanced tools can play a pivotal role in a practice’s pandemic response and beyond. Providing deep insights into COVID-19 symptoms and tracking for departments treating infected patients – along with managing high volumes of patients once business influx returns – could be an invaluable tool in navigating the complexity of the current industry.

Correct Billing Inaccuracies While Eliminating Waste

Revenue cycle management (RCM) processes have become increasingly complex over time, which can lead to severe complications if not maintained properly. Incomplete information, missing prior authorization or lack of documentation are just a few examples that can lead to significant subsequent issues if left unchecked in your RCM processes.

For example, let’s say a radiologist filed a claim for imaging services to their billing company. When the claim is submitted, the practice’s software accidentally attaches the imaging service to three other patient claims instead of just one. In this instance, the system shows the patients received additional imaging services that were never completed – causing a major quagmire in the revenue management cycle. An error like this could result in intensive, time-consuming billing nightmares that eventually delay reimbursement.

These errors in claims cost industry insurers billions of dollars annually. Furthermore, given the sheer volume of claims submitted each day, the price of capturing and reconciling billing discrepancies without the use of rich analytics systems is extremely ineffective and time-consuming.

Rich analytics systems identify poor data quality and fix mistakes automatically, resulting in more accurate claims and higher reimbursement rates while avoiding crucial errors that could lead to wasteful spending. In a time where many radiologists are working remotely due to recent federal regulations, implementing these systems in your practice can ease complex billing processes and avoid any possible billing complications.

Enhance Patient Care Through Detection and Prioritization

According to a 2018 report published in Nature Reviews Cancer on artificial intelligence (AI) in radiology, the massive rise in available radiological data and analytics has outgrown the number of industry professionals who are able to read and analyze them. To compensate for this disproportionate growth, healthcare providers have increased radiologist workload. Radiologist burnout is already extremely high, and increasing their workload can lead to increased human error.

Fortunately for referring providers and their radiologists, utilizing rich analytics in conjunction with AI offers the benefit of reading and interpreting multiple images at a more proficient pace. They also enforce deep learning models that are trained for specified image recognition tasks.

For example, a rich analytics system can recognize abnormalities in an image and place it higher in the order of images needed to be read. This allows radiologists to view images based on reading priority. Also, if images are accidentally sent to the incorrect physician, the data can be automatically re-routed to the appropriate referring physician, so an immediate plan of action can be determined for the sake of the patient’s health. Overall, this utilization of rich analytics and AI together drastically speeds up reporting and improves patient outcomes, lessening the overall workload for radiologists and enhancing the practice’s overall patient care.

Implementing analytics and reporting systems – such as those offered by Collaborative Imaging to its partners – can greatly improve your practice in the current digital age of radiology. Enhancing operational efficiency, fixing billing errors and improving patient care are just a few of the many benefits these systems can provide any practice looking to move forward in the industry. Radiology has always been extremely competitive, but in times like these, incorporating analytics and reporting systems may be what keeps your practice afloat for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic -- and what sets it apart once business returns.