Continuously Efficient Workflow from a Single Source
Case Study, Radiology Mühleninsel, Landshut, Germany
For many years, the Mühleninsel joint imaging center in Germany has relied on well thought-out, holistic solutions from radiology workflow specialist medavis, which are seamlessly connected.
With around 65,000 examinations per year, the Mühleninsel joint imaging center is a major player in the field of outpatient radiology in Eastern Bavaria. The group of imaging centers with five locations has already relied on the software solutions from medavis for 20 years. The smooth interaction of the systems and the reliable support are particularly appreciated.
The introduction of the radiological information system (RIS) in 2002 marked the beginning of a partnership characterised by continuity and trust.
When a new PACS was needed a few years later, the radiology department decided to purchase the JiveX PACS from Visus via medavis as well. „The integration is simply the best and in this way we have one contact person for all questions,“ explains Manuel Hanke, IT manager at the Mühleninsel joint imaging center.
A referrer and patient portal as well as an appointment booking portal – all from medavis – complement the classic RIS/PACS solution.
Deep Integration and Reliable Support
„IT is our main artery and enormously important for the operation of the imaging center. With RIS and the web portals, medavis offers well thought-out, holistic solutions that seamlessly connect and map all of our in-house processes. The overall concept has the clear advantage for us that there are practically no frictional losses due to the deep integration,“ summarises Professor Dr. med. Andreas Lienemann, managing partner and specialist in radiology at Mühleninsel.
Hanke adds: „Of course, we always look at all the possibilities. In the past, however, we have experienced, for example, that providers change interfaces or functions are discontinued. Then suddenly the connection is no longer as optimal and we have to adapt our workflows. The close cooperation with one provider has proven itself for us, because new medavis systems always integrate perfectly into our own RIS.“
And if there is a problem somewhere, a wellequipped support team will work on a solution immediately. „Fast and efficient help is just as important to us as the software and medavis has been delivering both very reliably for many years. Because a failure always means a financial loss,“ confirms Lienemann.
medavis RIS as Central IT System
„With medavis RIS we have a mature software that runs stably and that we have been using successfully for many years. It is workflow-oriented and enables us to automate many processes completely or partially. This reduces recurring work steps and thus ideally supports us in our daily work.
Thanks to the modular structure, we license and use exactly what we need in our imaging centers,“ says the radiologist with satisfaction. RIS manages all administrative processes at Mühleninsel, from scheduling and document digitisation to reporting and invoicing. It covers all workflows in radiology, nuclear medicine and also large parts of radiotherapy.
„Over the years, RIS has developed steadily and has been expanded with many new functions. Legal requirements are also implemented promptly. At the same time, medavis manages to retain proven operating concepts and keep the user interface modern but familiar,“ says Lienemann.
portal4med – Quick Communication with Referrers …
With the Referrer Portal, the first medavis web application was put into operation in the Mühleninsel joint imaging center in 2017.
The referring physicians have personal access data and can thus view the reports and image data of their patients in the integrated viewer immediately after release. This eliminates waiting times and many referrers order their patients back directly after the appointment in the radiology department.
When the portal was introduced, it became apparent that radiology first had to do some active convincing, because change always requires a certain overcoming of habits. „Today, about 60 referring doctors are connected with us. Most of them use the Referrer Portal very frequently and welcome the modern way of communication,“ explains Lienemann.
„Many also appreciate the possibility of importing the reports directly as a PDF into their own practice systems, for example for the digital patient file. This is already a great advantage over the previously common fax. On the other hand, they can download the radiological images and import them into their own PACS. From the very beginning, it has been shown that this functionality in particular is frequently and gladly used by many doctors.“
With the connection of an additional diagnostic viewer from Visus, the range of functions has been significantly expanded compared to the standard viewer. For example, cutlines and measurement functionalities are now available, which are particularly important for referring orthopaedists or in the operating theatre.
Hanke adds: „On the IT side, I am particularly impressed by the fully automated transfer of images and reports from RIS and PACS to the portal – this works completely without our intervention.“
… and More Service for Patients
After the Referrer Portal, the Mühleninsel imaging center also introduced the portal4med Patient Portal from medavis in 2021. The system, which is perfectly integrated into the workflow, offers advantages for all involved.
Already at registration, patients receive access data to be able to see their reports online. It is an important concern of the imaging center that every patient has a finished report in his or her pocket when leaving the imaging center after the examination – now online. „This allows our patients to view their reports and images at any time from any location without any effort and share them with doctors of their choice,“ says the radiologist.
“An additional plus: The inconvenient and in the long run cost-intensive burning of CDs, which also run the risk of being forgotten or misplaced by patients, is no longer necessary, and patients no longer have to wait until their CD is ready.“
To ensure data security, 2-factor authentication takes place and access can be cancelled in the Patient Portal if the ticket is lost. As this is highly sensitive patient data, the Mühleninsel imaging center also works with its own servers. This has the advantage that access to the data and images can be controlled in-house. Hanke adds: „When it comes to outpatient radiology, nothing works without us in two large counties. This makes it all the more important to responsibly deal with the trust that patients place in us. Especially due to the requirements of the GDPR, we appreciate the in-house hosting of the portal, as we always know on which servers our data or those of our patients are stored – on ours, actually!“
In general, the portal, which offers users protected and self-determined handling of their own data, is well received. Younger people in particular, with their self-evident online competence, are happy to take advantage of this new offer – and the trend is increasing.
booking4med – Appointment Management
With the go-live of the new location in Dingolfing, another medavis system was added with the online appointment booking solution booking4med, which is fully integrated into the RIS workflow and is also connected to portal4med.
The first step was a test run to evaluate the acceptance of online booking. As it quickly proved its worth, the service was then immediately rolled out to all other locations and advertised via the website, the on-hold announcement and the Referrer Portal.
Since then, Mühleninsel Radiology has seen a steady increase in the number of online appointments. Apart from appointment slots for emergencies, the entire RIS calendar is available and can be used by patients and referring physicians alike for online bookings.
The reasons for using booking4med were, on the one hand, to relieve the telephone switchboard and, on the other hand, to offer patients and referring physicians a round-the-clock booking service. An important prerequisite was also the seamless integration into the existing systems and established processes.
„The big advantage is that we don‘t have to maintain and manage two systems. booking4med runs reliably in the background, but does not require any interaction in the daily workflow. You don‘t really notice anything from the system, except that appointments are automatically in the RIS appointment calendar and our staff can even see in real time where online appointments are currently being booked. In addition, the whole thing is connected with automatic appointment confirmations and reminders via SMS. The integration has been implemented perfectly,“ says the IT manager happily.
And there are other pluses: „The system is able to guide patients step-by-step through the registration process. In the end, we have all the necessary data that we used to have to laboriously ask for by phone. That is an enormous time gain,“ Lienemann is pleased to say.
According to a survey conducted by Mühleninsel, this is also very much in the interest of the patients, for whom a timely and swiftly implemented appointment is the most important thing. „We have some of the shortest waiting times in the region. A good imaging center is one where there are few patients waiting because it shows that there is an optimal organisation running in the background. And that is exactly what the seamless interaction of our IT systems enables us to do,“ explains Lienemann.
Well-positioned for the Future
„In perspective, we will next look at the medavis interface to a digital patient education system and test it soon“, Hanke describes the further development plans. The background to this is not only the time saved in comparison to educational talks, but also the possible containment of the still prevalent flood of paper at the registration desk.
„The partnership-based cooperation with medavis on an equal footing has not only proven itself, but we would also like to expand it even further. Through the future-proof concepts and visions, we see the long-term way of thinking of medavis and thus feel well-positioned,“ concludes the managing partner and radiologist with satisfaction.
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