Breast center thrives with remote, fellowship-trained radiologists

 

Originally published by Theresa A. Cavins, MD, FACS on Radiology Business

As the chief of surgery specializing in breast care, I’ve seen firsthand the negative impact the national physician shortage can have on women’s health – especially in underserved communities. At my community hospital, it’s hard for us to bring in a new doctor, a new nurse, anyone at all. There is just such a shortage of talent right now.

Radiologists, especially breast imaging fellows, are perhaps the single hardest position to fill in this challenging environment. If you have to rely on your own hospital’s ability to hire a new radiologist, you could be waiting for a long time – potentially putting women’s health at risk.

Telemammography gaining momentum with same-day diagnostic results and video phone consultations

The pandemic delayed breast care for many women. We all know, however, that you can’t put cancer on hold. Combine that with the intensifying shortage of radiologists in this country and we’re seeing more and more patients who desperately need care.

Fortunately, we can provide screening mammograms and same-day diagnostic results remotely to many of those patients who lack access locally – for whatever reason. Perhaps the drive is too far, or their local provider doesn’t have a breast imaging specialist.

vRad first launched its remote diagnostic mammography program back in 2016, connecting patients and technologists with fellowship-trained, board-certified radiologists via live video consultation. Some providers and their patients were tentative at first – this was, after all, years before telehealth popularity skyrocketed during the pandemic – but the times, they are a changin’. Our telemammography volume is up 22% for each of the past three years. We’ll read 130,000 studies this year alone which means more women are accessing the specialized care they need.  

vRad Achieves SOC 2 Type II Data Security Compliance

In the face of increasingly sophisticated and more frequent cyberattacks that threaten the sensitive data of all healthcare providers, vRad is continuously advancing our systems to predict, prevent, and respond to these threats. The latest milestone in our commitment to safeguard patient information and other sensitive data is our achievement of SOC 2 Type II compliance.

6 major AUC updates for RCM specialists in 2022

One of the cornerstones of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 was the development of an appropriate use criteria (AUC) program that requires doctors to consult a qualified clinical decision support mechanism (qCDSM) when ordering advanced imaging services for Medicare patients. As many in the revenue cycle management (RCM) world already know, CMS was scheduled to start penalizing providers who don’t participate in the AUC program on Jan. 1, 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, led to such actions being delayed until 2023 at the earliest.

Academic and hospital-based mammography embraces teleradiology: Shedding 3 preconceptions of the past

Originally published by Michael Walter on Radiology Business

In 2020, a growing health system in the Northeast asked vRad for assistance. Like many providers around the country, all of its hospitals were struggling with physician shortages that largely stemmed from recruiting challenges.

Mammography stood out among the enterprise’s hardest-hit medical specialties. Its subspecialized breast radiologists were perilously overstretched.

And the health system had never considered “outsourcing” mammography an acceptable option.

The top 7 ways radiologists can avoid medical malpractice claims

Originally published by Michael Walter on Radiology Business

Medical malpractice claims are a significant source of anxiety for all radiologists. Unfortunately, decisions made in the heat of the moment, with the absolute best intentions, can still land a specialist in court.

In my role as chief medical officer for vRad, I’m intimately involved with our radiology malpractice claims and have observed commonalities among them. To quantify these observations, I recently analyzed all 220 claims made against vRad radiologists between June 2017 and October 2020—applying a detailed classification taxonomy including the alleged type of miss, study type, if the standard of care was met, if communication failures contributed, settlement, and so on.

What emerged from that data was a clear set of guidelines to help radiologists avoid the costliest and most likely cases to go to trial.

vRad Announces Largest Ever Radiologist Compensation Increase for 2022

I am extremely pleased to announce that beginning in 2022, vRad radiologists will see a compensation increase of up to 25%.

This will be the largest pay hike in the history of our practice and it will benefit all vRad radiologists. As part of a long-term reinvestment strategy in our radiologists, it is the fourth increase since 2019 and it reflects our values in compensating radiologists for the time, effort, and expertise required to advance vRad as a premier practice.

10 Steps to a Stress-Free Mammography Inspection

Whoever said the only things certain in life are death and taxes never faced an MQSA inspection. Federally mandated in the early ’90s and delegated to the states ever since, the process can seem like a frenetic exercise in reprimand avoidance. However, with a little rethinking and some focused preparation, you can turn the stressful day into an enjoyable experience.

In fact, watch out. You might even come to see your pre-inspection checklisting as a rewarding labor of love. After all, the beneficiaries of your dutiful i-dotting and t-crossing are deserving mammography patients.

It is with them in mind that I offer some principles and pointers I’ve come back to time and again over the 30-plus years I’ve worked in mammography technology, operations and administration. This includes the last seven years helping vRad’s telemammography clients prepare for their inspections.

Rad Results: The mobile app that connects radiologists with the patient care team

Originally published by Michael Walter on Radiology Business

In radiology, it is vital for radiologists to connect with the entire patient care team in a seamless and timely manner.

Imaging providers have done this over the years through such tools as land lines, pagers, fax machines and integrating with the electronic medical record (EMR). Some radiology practices even have their own secure client portal for this very purpose.

But times are changing. Communication among healthcare providers is more complicated now than ever. Radiologists are working on a broader array of technology platforms from diverse locations, including from home. Care teams are getting larger with an increasing need for near real-time communication. The old ways of delivering radiology results are imperfect for this new era of modern medicine. One dropped connection or wrong number can cause wasteful delays and even harmful outcomes.