The role of non-physician practitioners (NPPs) in healthcare, including radiology, is growing due to physician shortages.A study published in Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology examines the increasing trend of NPPs taking on imaging interpretation responsibilities. The study analyzed data from over 3 million imaging claims between 2016 and 2020 and found that 3% were attributed to NPPs, with the highest rates in rural areas. In metropolitan and micropolitan areas, NPP interpretations increased significantly during this period, particularly in states with less restrictive scope-of-practice policies. NPPs include those Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants.
The study also examined how state-level regulations influenced NPP practice authority and found that states with more moderate scope of practice laws saw larger increases in NPP interpretation rates, both in metropolitan and micropolitan areas.
A surprising finding was the extent of NPP involvement in interpreting advanced imaging studies, particularly CT and MRI, which made up 21% of all NPP-interpreted imaging. This raised concerns, given NPPs’ limited training in imaging.
The study highlights the need for further research into NPP involvement in radiology services, driven in part by shortages of physician specialists. Researchers should also explore NPPs’ roles in supervising diagnostic imaging tests involving contrast administration, in accordance with state regulations and Medicare rules.
When You’re Short-Staffed, Partner with Vesta Teleradiology
Partnering with our teleradiology company offers a robust solution to reduce reliance on non-physician practitioners (NPPs) for imaging interpretations. We provide access to a team of board-certified radiologists available around the clock, ensuring timely and accurate interpretations of diagnostic imaging studies. By collaborating with us, healthcare providers can enhance the quality of radiological care, improve patient outcomes, and address the challenges posed by physician shortages, all while maintaining a high standard of expertise in radiology. Your patients deserve the best care, and our partnership can help you achieve that goal.Contact us to learn more.
Arecent qualitative study aimed to investigate the factors influencing general practitioners’ (GPs) decisions to fulfill patient requests for imaging studies during clinical consultations. Ten GPs from private medical centers in Northwest Sydney were interviewed, and their perspectives were analyzed through content analysis. On the other side of the spectrum, we explore an American study that reveals the importance of encouraging more people to undergo screenings.
Patient Imaging Requests
The study revealed six key themes that emerged from the interviews regarding GPs fulfilling patient imaging requests:
Patient Expectations: Patients’ desires and expectations played a significant role in GPs’ decisions to fulfill imaging requests. Some patients expected certain tests due to their health concerns or beliefs.
‘Therapeutic Scans’: GPs recognized that some patients viewed imaging scans as a form of reassurance or therapeutic action. This influenced GPs to fulfill requests to alleviate patient anxiety.
“I find X-rays have become a therapeutic requirement, [and] that their [patients’] problem often dissipates once the request is given. (Female, 40)”
‘Impressive Labels’: The use of serious-sounding terms in imaging reports contributed to patients’ perception of the severity of their condition. This, in turn, led to increased requests for such scans.
Entitlement: Some patients exhibited an attitude of entitlement, expecting imaging scans without sufficient medical justification. GPs were more likely to decline such requests, especially during initial visits.
Defensive Medicine: GPs expressed concerns about potential legal repercussions if they refused imaging requests. Fear of litigation influenced GPs to fulfill requests to avoid legal issues.
‘New Patients’: GPs were cautious about fulfilling imaging requests from new patients, as they needed time to establish trust and assess the necessity of the requested scans.
The study concluded that GPs faced challenges in balancing their role as gatekeepers of imaging with patient expectations. Clear guidelines, patient education, and GP training were suggested as potential strategies to manage patient expectations and provide appropriate care. The study sheds light on the complexities of patient-GP interactions regarding imaging requests and highlights the need for evidence-based strategies to navigate these challenges. The study was conducted within the Australian Medicare system, where medical imaging is relatively accessible and affordable, and the findings contribute to understanding the dynamics of patient-GP interactions in this context.
Cancer Screenings Saves Millions of Years of Life
Meanwhile anAmerican study conducted by teams from the University of Chicago, University of Michigan, and study sponsor Grail LLC estimates that Americans have gained an additional 12 million years of life due to preventive cancer screenings over the past 25 years, leading to an economic impact of around $6.5 trillion. These screenings, targeting early signs of breast, colon, cervical, and lung cancers among high-risk adults, emphasize the importance of encouraging more individuals to undergo recommended cancer checks and exploring novel screening methods. The study suggests that if all eligible individuals received current screening for these cancers, it could save an extra 3.3 million life-years and add $1.7 trillion in economic impact.
The research utilized a mathematical model to assess the impact of cancer screenings endorsed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). This federally authorized panel evaluates evidence for preventive medical services and provides recommendations using letter grades. Since 2010, screenings with “A” or “B” grades have been covered by most insurances without patient costs under the Affordable Care Act.
Although screenings for breast, colorectal, cervical, and lung cancers have saved millions of life-years, their full potential remains untapped. The majority of life-years saved and economic impact come from cervical cancer screening due to its early and consistent screening intervals for individuals aged 18-65. However, the study acknowledges that the availability of the HPV vaccine since 2006 could affect the future value of cervical cancer screening.
While there are validated screening tests lacking for many cancer types, decreased death rates from cancers with available screenings have contributed to the overall reduction in U.S. cancer deaths. To establish more broadly validated cancer screenings, further research is needed, potentially evaluated by the USPSTF. Novel screening tools like blood tests for multiple cancer types are in development, but AI-based tests have yet to undergo review by relevant bodies for efficacy and recommendations.
The healthcare market is experiencing ashift towards outpatient care, driven by reimbursement changes, pandemic effects, and patient preferences, particularly prominent in the U.S. Providers are diversifying into sub-specializations like neurology and oncology, raising the demand for advanced imaging like MRI and CT. This trend has led to increased utilization of outpatient imaging and teleradiology services.
By the NuMbers
Diagnostic imaging is becoming increasingly crucial in healthcare, with the market projected to reach$31.9bn in 2023 and grow at a 4.8% CAGR to $45.8bn in 2030. The rise is driven by chronic diseases, an aging population, and post-Covid-19 demand recovery. To meet this demand, companies are focusing on advanced and accessible technologies, such as handheld ultrasounds. About 1,949 imaging devices are in development, with 112 expected to gain approval in 2023.
According to Fortune Business Insights, in 2022, the computed tomography (CT) segment held the largest market share due to a rise in CT scan procedures and higher average pricing. For instance, OECD data for 2021 showed 84.5 million CT scan procedures in the U.S., up by 15.8% from the previous year. The growing geriatric population has also contributed to increased demand for CT scans.
Key players include GE Healthcare, Philips, Siemens Healthineers, and more. Challenges include high equipment costs and a shortage of skilled personnel, impacting accessibility and patient care quality. Opportunities arise from the growing demand for imaging services, especially for chronic diseases, and the development of new modalities like 3D mammography and MRI-guided focused ultrasound. Emerging economies like India, China, and Brazil are pivotal, driven by rising chronic diseases. Major players like Siemens Healthineers are expanding in these markets. Additionally, teaching hospitals are increasing demand for advanced imaging methods to enhance patient care.
Your Dedicated Radiology Partner: Vesta
Partnering with Vesta as your radiology partner ensures access to accurate and timely imaging interpretations and readings for subspecialties. Whether you are an outpatient imaging center or traditional hospital, our collaboration offers a seamless and efficient experience. Trust us to be your reliable radiology partner, empowering you with the insights and tools needed for improved healthcare outcomes.
In recent years,artificial intelligence (AI) has made remarkable strides in revolutionizing the landscape of the medical field, offering unprecedented opportunities for enhanced patient care, diagnosis, and treatment. From accelerating the analysis of medical imagery to predicting disease outcomes with unparalleled accuracy, AI-powered technologies have swiftly established themselves as indispensable tools for healthcare professionals. Beyond diagnostics, AI has played a pivotal role in drug discovery, streamlining clinical trials, and personalizing patient interventions. As AI continues to evolve, its potential to transform healthcare systems globally is becoming increasingly evident, promising not only improved medical outcomes but also cost-effective solutions and optimized resource allocation. The fusion of AI’s computational prowess with medical expertise heralds a new era of medical advancements that hold the potential to alleviate the burden on healthcare systems, save lives, and redefine the standards of patient well-being.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that around40 million mammograms were performed each year. Mammograms are crucial as they are the primary method for early detection of breast cancer, enabling timely intervention and improving survival rates. By detecting small abnormalities and tumors that may not be palpable, mammograms help identify potential breast cancer cases in their earliest stages, allowing for more effective and less invasive treatment options.
Radiologists often find themselves overwhelmed due to the increasing volume of medical images requiring analysis, coupled with ashortage of radiology specialists. The demand for accurate and timely diagnoses, especially in fields like mammography, can lead to extended work hours and heightened stress levels among radiologists. Introducing AI technologies can alleviate this burden by assisting in image analysis, enabling radiologists to focus on complex cases and ensuring more efficient patient care.
How AI Helps in Mammography
A recent study published in The Lancet Oncology suggests that artificial intelligence (AI) may outperform trained doctors in detecting breast cancer from mammogram images. Mammograms face challenges due to factors like breast density, leading to missed cancer cases. The study analyzed 80,000 mammograms from Swedish women, finding that AI-assisted readings detected 20% more cancers compared to human radiologists. While not a standalone solution, AI could alleviate doctors’ workloads, enhancing accuracy without increasing false negatives. Despite FDA-approved AI technologies, integration with conventional methods is likely, aiding radiologists in managing a growing workload. The balance between AI and human expertise remains essential, ensuring optimal patient care and early cancer detection.
Healthcare experts, including the NHS and the Royal College of Radiologists, acknowledgeAI’s promise in enhancing efficiency, decision-making, and prioritizing critical cases.
AI applied to diagnostic imaging holds the potential to significantly enhance the level of patient care. We eagerly anticipate further progress in this field. However, we maintain the viewpoint that presently, no machine can effectively substitute for the expertise of a skilled human observer for interpretations. At Vesta, we offer the services of radiologists who are US Board Certified, dedicated to delivering precise preliminary and final analyses. Discover how we can bolster your radiology department by reaching out to us today.
A healthcare facility – hospital, private practice, imaging center – may choose to utilize the services of a teleradiology company to enhance their radiology capabilities and streamline their diagnostic imaging processes. Teleradiology services offers numerous advantages, such as increased access to specialized radiologists, expedited turnaround times, reduced waiting time for patients, and improved patient care. By partnering with a reputable teleradiology company, healthcare facilities can leverage advanced technology, secure data transmission, and a network of skilled radiologists to obtain accurate and timely radiology preliminary and final interpretations. This collaboration allows healthcare providers to optimize their resources, extend their coverage, and ultimately deliver high-quality diagnostic imaging services to their patients, regardless of time or location.
Teleradiology Reports Delivery
Before engaging with an outsourced radiology company, you may wonder how reports are delivered. Teleradiology specialists deliver their reports through secure electronic means, utilizing advanced technology and secure communication platforms.
When you partner with Vesta, a Gateway application is installed remotely to allow your systems direct access to our PACS. Once linked, your technicians send exams straight from your machine to our PACS. Vesta account specialists assign it to the proper physician who read and dictate the report, it’s uploaded to your branded template where it’s easily accessible for your facility to access and download!
These customized reports can also be distributed electronically, and any critical findings are immediately shared with the facility via phone, email, or text. We also facilitate callbacks between the physician and radiologist and provide an unlimited amount of customized report templates with your facility’s information and logo. It’s a seamless experience which allows you to focus on what matters most, the patient experience.
Safety and Security: HIPAA
Teleradiology companies like Vesta prioritize the security and confidentiality of patient data throughout the entire process. They employ strict data encryption, comply with privacy regulations (such as HIPAA in the United States), and implement robust security measures to protect patient information during transmission and storage.
Looking to outsource your radiology interpretations? Please reach out to Vesta to learn more. Vesta Teleradiology can accommodate any type of volume, large, medium and small.
Emergency rooms (ERs) play a critical and indispensable role in the healthcare system, serving as the front line of medical care for individuals experiencing urgent and life-threatening situations. These bustling hubs of medical expertise and resources are designed to provide immediate and comprehensive care to patients who require immediate attention, regardless of their condition or ability to pay. Emergency rooms act as the safety net for communities, offering round-the-clock access to highly trained healthcare professionals, advanced diagnostic tools, and life-saving interventions. From trauma cases and acute illnesses to critical injuries and emergencies, emergency rooms serve as the gateway to timely and potentially life-saving medical care, ensuring that patients receive the immediate attention they need in their most vulnerable moments.
During the summer months in the United States, emergency rooms tend to see an increase in patient visits due to various reasons.Pew Research states that close to 45,000 people visit U.S. hospital emergency rooms for treatment of injuries each day on July 4 and 5 which are the highest daily numbers in the entire year.
Some common reasons people visit emergency rooms during the summer include:
Heat-Related Illnesses: The hot weather can lead to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Symptoms may include dehydration, dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and altered mental status, which may require immediate medical attention.
Trauma from Outdoor Activities: Outdoor recreational activities like hiking, camping, and rock climbing can lead to injuries such as fractures, sprains, cuts, and wounds. Emergency care may be necessary for evaluation, wound management, and potential surgical interventions. This means an increase in imaging procedures like x-rays.
Accidents and Injuries: Summer activities and outdoor sports can result in an uptick in accidents and injuries. This includes injuries from water-related activities, such asswimming accidents, diving accidents, near-drownings, and boating accidents, as well as bicycle accidents, falls, and recreational sports injuries.
Allergic Reactions: Summertime brings increased exposure to allergens like pollen, insect bites, and stings. Some individuals may experience severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, requiring emergency medical care.
Respiratory Issues: People with respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may experience exacerbations during the summer due to factors like poor air quality, increased pollen, and higher levels of pollution. These exacerbations can lead to respiratory distress and necessitate emergency care.
Outdoor and Recreational Injuries: With warmer weather, people engage in various outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, swimming, and team sports. These activities can result in injuries such as fractures, sprains, strains, dislocations, and head injuries.
Foodborne Illnesses: Barbecues, picnics, and outdoor gatherings increase the risk of foodborne illnesses due to improper food handling and storage. Severe cases of food poisoning can lead to dehydration and require medical evaluation and treatment.
Sunburn and Sun-Related Injuries: Prolonged sun exposure without proper protection can result in sunburn, sun poisoning, and related skin injuries. Severe sunburns may require medical attention to manage pain, prevent infection, and address complications.
Why Staffing is Important
Adequatehealthcare staffing is of paramount importance for emergency rooms as it directly impacts the quality and timeliness of care provided to patients in critical situations. Emergency rooms must be adequately staffed with physicians, nurses, and support staff who possess the necessary skills and expertise to handle a wide range of emergencies. The unpredictable nature of emergency room cases, the potential for multiple simultaneous emergencies, and the need for rapid decision-making necessitate a sufficient number of healthcare professionals to ensure efficient triage, timely assessments, and appropriate interventions. With adequate staffing, emergency rooms can effectively manage patient flow, reduce wait times, provide continuous monitoring, and deliver the highest standard of care, ultimately maximizing patient outcomes and saving lives.
Vesta Fills in for Your Radiologists
Whether you have a shortage of radiologists due to a hiring shortage or simply your staff is unavailable nights and weekends, Vesta is here for you. Hospitals and ERs can’t always predict with complete accuracy future patient volume which is where Vesta can help you with the unexpected. OurUS Board Certified radiologists can work on-site or remotely for your preliminary and final interpretations.
It’s a staggering statistic. Healthcare company bankruptcies were up 84% in 2022 as compared to 2021. Things are getting so severe that in California, there are legislative proposals for offering emergency loans for hospitals facing closure or that are trying to reopen. Why is this happening?
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on hospitals financially. Here are some of the ways hospitals have been affected:
Increased expenses: Hospitals faced increased expenses due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. These expenses include the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE), additional staffing needs, testing supplies, ventilators, and other medical equipment required to treat COVID-19 patients. Hospitals also had to invest in facility modifications and create dedicated COVID-19 units or wards.
Canceled or postponed elective procedures: To free up resources and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, many hospitals had to cancel or postpone elective surgeries and procedures. These procedures often contribute a significant portion of a hospital’s revenue, and their suspension led to financial losses.
Reduction in outpatient visits: Many people postponed or avoided non-emergency medical visits and procedures due to concerns about COVID-19 exposure. As a result, hospitals experienced a decline in outpatient visits, diagnostic tests, and routine care. Outpatient services are an essential revenue source for hospitals, and the decrease in patient volumes had a negative financial impact.
Decline in emergency department visits: While emergency departments experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases, they also saw a decline in visits for non-COVID-19 emergencies. Fear of exposure to the virus, stay-at-home orders, and limited access to transportation may have contributed to this decline. Since emergency department visits often generate revenue for hospitals, the decrease in non-COVID-19 cases had financial implications.
Unequal distribution of funding: While governments and healthcare systems provided financial relief and support to hospitals during the pandemic, the distribution of funds varied. Some hospitals, particularly those in hard-hit areas or with a high percentage of COVID-19 patients, received additional funding. However, smaller or rural hospitals with fewer COVID-19 cases may have faced financial challenges due to reduced patient volumes and inadequate financial support.
It’s important to note that the specific financial impact can vary among hospitals based on factors such as their location, patient demographics, size, and pre-pandemic financial health. These factors can influence the severity of the financial challenges faced by hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis.
Partnering with Vesta Teleradiology Group to Reduce Costs
Vesta Teleradiology understands that financial costs can be a burden, so that’s why they are always on the lookout to bring the latest technologies to healthcare facilities to help improve efficiency and quality while reducing costs. Vesta doesn’t believe you have to sacrifice quality for cost. Whether you operate a largehospital, urgent care center, or private practice, we are here to help fully or in part, for all your radiology interpretation needs, includingsubspecialties.
As a healthcare professional, events like conferences serve as opportunities to learn and grow professionally while expanding our network.
If you want to achieve new insights and techniques in imaging and healthcare, 2023 Imaging and Healthcare Conferences are among the best opportunities. Here are the top conferences in the United States.
RSNA (Radiological Society of North America) 2023
The Radiological Society of North America is one of the largest conferences globally, focusing on radiology and imaging. The conference covers everything from basic science to emerging technologies and features various sessions and workshops covering all field aspects.
RSNA 2023will occur in Chicago, Illinois, from November 27 to December 1, 2023.
The meeting takes place from June 29-July 2, 2023, in the City by the Bay, San Francisco. The SIIM conference offers CME opportunities for attendees to be professionally accredited, making it one of the world’s most significant events in imaging informatics.
The AI in Healthcare Summit aims to bring the world’s brightest minds to discuss ideas on developing AI technology in healthcare imaging. Attendees will enjoy learning from cross-industry thought leaders, researchers, and technology innovators.
CME (Continuing Medical Education) Conferences
Continuing education is essential for professionals in the healthcare industry.CME conferences are offered throughout the year, allowing attendees opportunities for advancement.
Organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA), the American College of Radiology (ACR), and the Radiological Society of North America offer these conferences.
Attending these imaging and healthcare conferences will allow you to gain experience and interaction with industry professionals and keep abreast of the latest technology and groundbreaking research.
Plan to attend any of these 2023 conferences to improve yourimaging and healthcare skills and knowledge and keep yourself updated and engaged with peers.
Americans, and everyone all over the world, depend on proper medical care. From dental checkups to urgent care visits, medical professionals are absolutely essential, especially when it comes to massive emergencies. If we didn’t learn this fact yet, the pandemic certainly brought it into focus. In 2020, hospitals and medical buildings surged with COVID patients, overloading facilities and professionals alike. Now, with labor shortages, and unfair compensation, nurses and medical staff are going on strike to re-negotiate contracts to make their workplaces a fairer place to be.
Healthcare Strikes Going on Now
Beginning in January of this year, over 7,000 medical professionals went on strike in New York City, saysVox. The strikes involve Mt. Sinai Hospital, and three other facilities, located in the Bronx, owned by Montefiore. Recent contract negotiations failed to provide health care workers with more staff, as well as desired salary compensation, says the article. Over 700 positions are open within the Montefiore facilities, and nurses and medical staff feel overburdened and undervalued. As explained by Vox, when billable hours and revenue collection are limited to doctors who prescribe surgeries and medicine, nurses and other medical staff are a complete cost to the hospital. Even though these professionals are essential to properly run any medical facility, investing in nursing staff becomes a problem when the American structure is a pay-for-treatment transaction in healthcare systems that are for profit.
Last month, on February 27, another strike took place on Long Island with about 800 nurses, saysCBS News. At Northwell Health’s South Shore University Hospital, nurses are demanding “safe staffing and fair wage,” says the article. 99% of the nurses voted to authorize the strike.
It isn’t just the United States that’s involved with strikes. Across the pond, in the UK, nurses are also having a difficult time negotiating what they need in their contracts, says IN News. For the first time in Royal College of Nursing history, medical staff, which spanned over 100 services, held England’s largest nursing strike on March 1 of this year. In the 48-hour strike, staff from emergency departments, intensive care units, cancer care, and other services were involved, says the article. Compensation, workload, and workplace conditions are the terms UK nurses are fighting for. Since 2010, nurses’ compensation has fallen 8%, says the article.
Both in the US and UK, nurses have made it clear that they do not want to strike, leaving vulnerable patients in a bind, saysUSA Today, and IN News. “Bosses have pushed us to strike by refusing to seriously consider our proposals to address the desperate crisis of unsafe staffing that harms our patients,” said a union representative from The Nurses Association to USA Today.
Re-negotiated contracts and tentative agreements were reached in New York, some involving a raise of 5-7% over the next three years for nursing staff, as well as staffing increases, says Today. Negotiations in the UK came to an agreement on March 16, with more than 1 million NHS staff receiving a raise, saysgov.uk.
Shortage in Radiologists
It’s not just nurses that are in shortage, but alsothose in the radiology field as well.Luckily, partnering with ateleradiology company like Vesta allows you to fill in those gaps you have—whether you’re short-staffed for weekend work or simply need reliable interpretations around the clock. Vesta also offers top-to-bottom healthcare staffing from its sister company,Momentum Healthcare Staffing for positions such as locums tenens and permanent nurse practitioners, physicians, medical assistants and more.
Being told that you need diagnostic imaging can be scary. Healthcare professionals deal with diagnostic imaging every day, so they may become immune to the concerns of patients.
Still, amidst patients’ fear of diagnostic imaging, healthcare professionals can set their minds at ease.
The main thing to remember is to simply treat your patients like humans. Slow down, treat them with kindness, and really listen to their concerns. Doing these simple things can go a long way in setting your patients’ minds at ease.
What Concerns Do Patients Have About Diagnostic Imaging?
One of the most common concerns amongst patients is the claustrophobia caused by MRI machines. Dealing with the tight space of an MRI machine can be very stressful for patients dealing with claustrophobia and anxiety.
Regarding X-rays, patients are often concerned about their radiation exposure. Theyfear that the imaging may put them at increased risk for cancer.
Treat Your Patient Like a Person
One of the most common complaints from patients is that they don’t feel like the person working with them is treating them with care and understanding.
Smile and say hello when you first enter the room. Something as small as a smile can instantly put a person’s mind at ease, especially in a clinical setting that is scary for many patients.
Always refer to the patient by their name. Never refer to them as “the patient” while they are in earshot. Doing so sounds cold, while using their name makes the interaction feel more personal.
Maintain eye contact with your patient. Don’t look at their chart so much that you forget to make them feel like they’re being heard. Eye contact can make them less anxious, especially if they’ve been waiting a long time or have specific fears.
Make sure you sit — standing over a seated patient can be intimidating.
Listen & Understand
Health Management emphasizes how important it is to listen to your patient and ask questions. Let them explain what is going on before you begin to speak. Don’t interrupt them. If they have something to add while you’re talking, allow them to interject and listen to what they say.
Giving your patient space to speak can clarify any confusion on both parts.
After they have finished, reiterate what they’ve said to ensure you understand their concerns. Doing so shows the patient that you are interested in helping them and have respect for their situation. It also ensures that both the patient and healthcare provider are on the same page with treatment going forward.
Also, remember to slow down. Many patients feel that healthcare providers are in a rush, that they’re wasting their time, and that the provider would rather be elsewhere. Patients deserve to feel that their time is valued. Slowing down also helps patients to feel like they are heard and understood.
Watch Your Tone
Patients often come to healthcare providers with sensitive information that can make them feel vulnerable. Health Management encourages professionals to speak to patients with a warm, calm tone of voice. It can do a lot to set their mind at ease. Speaking more slowly can do the same.
Educate Your Patients
Lawrence T. Dauer et al. say professionals should educate their patients. They should know exactly what’s happening during the imaging and what effects the imaging may have on their bodies.
For example, many patients fear how much radiation they’re getting. Explain that they are receiving very little radiation exposure.
Don’t lie to them. Professionals know that repeated exposure, a person’s age, and other factors may increase risk. Patients deserve to know that, but you can set their minds at ease by explaining their risks.
Patients should always have informed consent. They should know precisely what they’re going into and be okay with it. Consent is not just about getting the patient to sign a form. It ensures they are adequately educated about their procedure and entirely on board.
As a healthcare professional, you know a lot of medical and technical jargon that the patient likely does not. Speak straightforwardly, using familiar words. It is crucial that the patient understands what is going on with their treatment.
At the same time, Health Management warns you to be careful not to come across as patronizing. Although patients may not know medical jargon, it doesn’t mean they’re stupid.
Reducing MRI Claustrophobia Concerns
The University of Virginia says the main reason patients are fearful of MRI machines is because they lack understanding of them. Many professionals can ease patients’ minds by informing them that MRI machines are well-lit and open at both ends. They are not closed off and dark, as many patients fear.
Professionals can teach their patients easy breathing and meditation techniques to help keep them calm during the procedure. Another option is to tell them to count to keep their minds busy or to go to their “happy place.”
Provide them with a towel or washcloth they can drape over their eyes so they can’t see what’s going on.
Provide patients with headphones and allow them to listen to their music of choice.
Talk to your patients — about anything — get their minds off the procedure.
Diagnostic imaging can be scary for patients, especially those dealing with anxiety. Medical professionals are critical in setting a patient’s mind at ease, and it’s not hard to do.
Slow down, treat your patients with kindness and respect, and ensure they are properly informed. These simple things can help calm your patients and help you build a lasting professional relationship.