Connecting with Referrers to Increase Referrer Loyalty
Case Study portal4med, Radiology Oberland, Hausham, Germany
Automated Upload of Reports and Images
portal4med enables direct access to images and reports.
Transmitting a report to a referrer directly after its release? This service is offered by Dr. Roland Scheck and his colleagues from Radiology Oberland in Germany to their referring physicians and patients. Dr. Scheck and 14 other physicians use portal4med by the German software provider medavis to exchange reports and images with referring colleagues quickly and in high quality, regardless of location.
“We have been working with the medavis RIS since 1998 and have completely digitized our internal processes from orders to billing and reminders,“ Dr. Roland Scheck, one of four owners and IT responsible, describes the daily operations at Radiology Oberland. “With portal4med, we offer referring colleagues the opportunity to directly access their patients‘ reports and images.“ Dr. Scheck has been using portal4med since December 2015 and is completely satisfied with the solution.
Each of the more than 100 referring physicians who regularly use portal4med thus have access to the reports and images relevant to them. Dr. Scheck assigns patients to referring physicians in RIS. He then creates individual or group logins to ensure that the referring unit (individual physician or team of physicians) can access the respective patients‘ data. “Since the referring physicians‘ data is already stored in RIS, administration is very simple. I generate a password for each referrer or for the entire practice and make it available,“ explains Dr. Scheck. The radiology workflow has not changed for him and his team since the introduction of the web portal. When reports are released for referrers that are not registered in the portal, RIS automatically triggers a fax transmission or CD creation. For referring physicians registered in the portal, on the other hand, the reports and images are fully automatically uploaded to the portal, so that they are immediately available online – without any loss of time or media disruption.
This is precisely where Dr. Scheck sees great opportunities for portal4med. “I‘m happy if in the future we can give every patient a printed or digital access ticket instead of a CD, with which they can have their images unlocked at any point, or grant access to their images and reports. I think this is the right way to slowly move away from the huge amount of CDs we hand to patients every day,“ says the experienced radiologist.
Integrated Image Viewer Inspires Referrers
If desired, the referring physician can receive an e-mail notification as soon as new reports and images are received in the portal. It is up to them how the patient data is listed: sorted by date, current cases first or, in the case of a group practice, also sorted by attending physician, for example. Both the arrangement of the columns and the order in which the patients are displayed can be defined individually. Using the search function, which works in a similar way to a search engine, the physician can quickly and easily find the relevant data record for a patient.
“Overall, we have received very positive feedback from our referrers who use portal4med – especially since the images can be accessed immediately after they have been created. This avoids waiting times. In addition, our referrers find the software, its functionality and the image viewer very good and easy to use,“ Dr. Scheck summarizes the feedback from his referrers.
They are particularly enthusiastic about the integrated viewer, which can be used to view images directly in the portal. “The colleague can drag and drop entire series into the viewer in a matter of seconds. Images of all modalities are displayed in excellent quality without any restrictions. With one click, the brightness of images and image series can be edited. By scrolling, the referrer navigates through a CT image very quickly and without jerking. Zoom in, zoom out, display different images side by side – everything is possible,“ explains Dr. Scheck. In addition, an event log seamlessly documents all activities performed in the portal.
IT Connectivity Thought Through
Now that the internal communication is completely digitized, networking beyond the radiology was a logical step for Dr. Scheck: “Many colleagues, for example orthopedists, are giving up conventional X-rays altogether because it is no longer financially worthwhile. For them and also other, mostly specialist physicians who have a high affinity for IT, digital networking beyond practice boundaries is the best alternative,“ says the expert. The aim of IT connectivity in Germany is to network service providers and exchange data. A lot is happening in this field right now, but this exchange is currently limited to reports, lab values and medication plans. Images are being forgotten.
“And that is exactly why portal4med is a very good way to close this gap,“ sums up the radiologist. “The portal ensures worldwide image and report distribution in excellent quality, also with the possibility of downloading original DICOM files. The portal offers efficiency advantages, especially when you want to exchange second opinions with colleagues or when a patient is with a referrer and has forgotten the CD with the images. In this case, the appointment does not have to be canceled, but within a few minutes the images and the reports are available to the referrer,“ says Dr. Scheck, describing a major advantage. Of course, the patients must give their consent beforehand. Dr. Scheck can also define how long he wants to share the patient data with the corresponding colleague.
Dr. Scheck is convinced that patients benefit from networking in medicine. “Imagine you tear your meniscus on a skiing vacation, but you‘ve already had surgery on your cruciate ligament. Via a guest access, I, being the administrator, can easily provide your images to the colleague on site. All he needs is an Internet-enabled device and he can view your images.“ Through optimized communication beyond the boundaries of radiology, modern medical IT creates the basis for faster and better patient care.
“Our experience with portal4med is very positive. We are among the first users of the medavis portal and have witnessed the last years. It has become apparent that many practical innovations have been introduced, especially recently. We are excited about the integration of the JiveX diagnostic web viewer into portal4med, because this makes the measurement methods available to the referring physician on a larger scale. We are very satisfied with the development of portal4med,“ says Dr. Roland Scheck.
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