How Does Working With a Teleradiology Company Enhance Diagnostic Accuracy?

A teleradiology company is a healthcare organization that provides remote radiology services using telecommunication technology. It connects radiologists with healthcare facilities, allowing them to interpret and analyze medical images remotely, regardless of geographical locations. These companies facilitate the transmission of medical images and reports, enabling timely diagnoses, expert consultations, and improved access to radiology services.

Working with a teleradiology company can enhance diagnostic accuracy in several ways

Access to Specialized Radiologists: Teleradiology companies often have a network of highly specialized radiologists who can provide expertise in specific areas, such as musculoskeletal radiology, neuroradiology, or pediatric radiology. This specialization allows for more accurate and precise interpretations of complex cases.

Peer Review and Collaboration

Teleradiology platforms facilitate peer review and collaboration among radiologists. This enables multiple experts to review and discuss challenging cases, leading to a more accurate diagnosis. Radiologists can consult with their peers, share knowledge, and seek second opinions, which can significantly enhance diagnostic accuracy.

Reduced Turnaround Time

Teleradiology companies typically offer quick turnaround times for reporting. Faster access to radiology reports means timely diagnoses, enabling prompt patient management decisions. Rapid reporting reduces the chances of missed diagnoses or delayed treatment, improving overall diagnostic accuracy.

24/7 Coverage

Teleradiology services often provide round-the-clock coverage, allowing healthcare facilities to access radiology expertise at any time, including nights, weekends, and holidays. This availability ensures that critical cases receive immediate attention, leading to accurate and timely diagnoses.

day and night coverage

Subspecialty Interpretations

Teleradiology companies can match specific cases with radiologists who specialize in the relevant subspecialties. This ensures that complex or rare cases are interpreted by radiologists with extensive experience and knowledge in those areas. Subspecialty interpretations enhance diagnostic accuracy by reducing the likelihood of misdiagnosis or overlooking important findings.

Quality Assurance Programs

Teleradiology companies usually have robust quality assurance programs in place. These programs include regular audits, peer reviews, and adherence to strict reporting standards. By maintaining high-quality standards, teleradiology companies ensure accurate and reliable interpretations.

Advanced Technology and Tools

Teleradiology companies often employ advanced technologies and tools to enhance diagnostic accuracy. These include computer-aided detection (CAD) systems, advanced visualization software, and access to a comprehensive database of previous imaging studies for comparison. These tools assist radiologists in identifying subtle abnormalities, improving diagnostic accuracy. Another benefit is that teleradiology offers is the ability for the radiologist to manipulate the images in ways that cannot be achieved solely with film. As a result, it allows for the extraction of additional clinically significant information from the images and leads to more precise diagnoses and clinical decisions.

 

Vesta Teleradiology: Over 16 Years of Excellence

By leveraging the expertise of specialized board certified radiologists, promoting collaboration, offering fast turnaround times, providing subspecialty interpretations, implementing quality assurance programs, and utilizing advanced technology, teleradiology companies like Vesta can significantly enhance diagnostic accuracy and contribute to improved patient care.

Sources

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Sciencedirect.com
Openai.com

How Has COVID Affected Hospitals Financially?

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?

COVID’s Impact

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.

covid 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 large hospital, urgent care center, or private practice, we are here to help fully or in part, for all your radiology interpretation needs, including subspecialties.

Sources:

OpenAi.com

https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/healthcare-company-bankruptcies-2022-hospitals-senior-care-pharma/640504/

https://calmatters.org/health/2023/04/hospital-closures-california/

State of the Healthcare Industry: Hospital Strikes

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, says Vox. 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, says CBS 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.

burnt out

 

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, says USA 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, says gov.uk.

 

Shortage in Radiologists

It’s not just nurses that are in shortage, but also those in the radiology field as well. Luckily, partnering with a teleradiology 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.

radiologists

Practice Management: How to Soothe Patient Concerns over Diagnostic Imaging

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. They fear 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.

 

talking to your patients
Address the patients concerns

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.

Be Clear

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.

 

patient anxiety
Understand some people may have claustrophobia

 

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.

Conclusion

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.

Diagnostic Imaging Trends: Point of Care Ultrasound – POCUS

Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) is revolutionizing the healthcare industry and changing how doctors prescribe treatment for patients. POCUS is a diagnostic tool that utilizes ultrasound imaging to diagnose, monitor, and guide treatments for medical conditions.

 

This technology has been around for decades but is presently utilized more broadly throughout the healthcare system. Let’s take a closer look at POCUS and how it transforms patient care.

 

What Is Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS)?

Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) is an ultrasound-based diagnostic tool used in clinical settings that uses sound waves to create images allowing doctors to see inside the body without having to do surgery or other invasive procedures.

 

POCUS can detect various medical conditions, such as heart defects, abdominal diseases, vascular diseases, musculoskeletal problems, and gynecological issues. POCUS can also be used in emergency settings to assess a patient’s condition quickly and determine if further intervention or testing is needed.

 

How Is Point of Care Ultrasound Transforming Healthcare?

One benefit of POCUS is its cost-effectiveness compared with other imaging tests, such as MRI or CT scans, and POCUS does not require expensive equipment as those tests do.

 

POCUS
Point of care ultrasound

 

Additionally, it can be done quickly and easily at the point of care, which reduces wait times for patients and increases accuracy in diagnosis, as well as reduces unnecessary treatments or hospital admissions. Furthermore, since it does not use radiation as other imaging tests do, there are no additional health risks associated with this technology, making it safer overall for patients.

 

Another advantage of POCUS is its ability to provide real-time data about a patient’s condition, which helps doctors make more informed decisions about treatment plans for their patients.

 

Additionally, because POCUS used in most circumstances does not require special training or expensive equipment, these systems are becoming increasingly available in low-resource areas where access to traditional diagnostic imaging may be limited. This benefit means more people have access to high-quality healthcare regardless of where they live or available resources.

 

The Gates Foundation recently provided financing to bring 1,000 handheld ultrasound devices to Africa. When low to mid-income nations can improve the accuracy of an efficient diagnosis–local doctors can save more lives.

 

Since 2012, however, emergency medicine program accreditation requires competency in POCUS. Competency assessment in this field includes demonstrations of technical skill and how it relates to the specific clinical practice.

 

Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) offers numerous benefits over traditional imaging tests. Its cost-effectiveness allows physicians to provide accurate diagnoses without breaking the bank. In contrast, its portability allows it to reach underserved populations who may not otherwise have access to quality healthcare services.

 

With further advances in technology coming soon, we could see even more widespread use of this powerful diagnostic tool across all areas of medicine in the near future.

 

Vesta Teleradiology: At the Forefront of Medical Technology

 

Vesta believes it is crucial to stay on top of technological trends that can benefit our hospital and healthcare facility partners. Vesta is always at the forefront of tech advances in order to help bring more efficiency and accuracy to imaging and radiological interpretations. For more information about Vesta’s teleradiology services, please contact us today.

 

The Future of Radiology with 5G

If you’ve been to the doctor’s office, hospital, or any healthcare building recently, you might have noticed an upgrade in technology. Instead of a sign-in sheet, you may have been handed a fingerprint scanner. In lieu of a paper and pen, a nurse may have an iPad or desktop computer to take your medical history. For years, medical offices around the country have already had an online scheduling and note-taking system, so it may not come as a surprise that innovations have reached their way to medical imaging and radiology. 5G technology has made vast improvements in the medical space since 2018, says Imaging Technology News, and will continue to make waves, globally, for years to come.

Advancements with 5G

Ultrasound and telehealth technology has advanced this year with 5G technology, particularly with people who live in remote locations without easy access to hospitals, says Radiology Business. 5G connectivity makes transmission of 4K images and ultrasound images much more efficient and clearer than LTE technology, says the article. Patients who need appointments or images read by medical professionals are able to receive the care they need through telehealth services and remarkably clearer images. In addition to this, 5G technology has helped remotely train the practitioners, who were not radiologists, to take the ultrasound examinations. Having a wider pool of practitioners to perform these tasks is proof that 5G has a promising future in the healthcare community.

Another advancement brought about by 5G technology is biomedical devices, says Applied Sciences.  When a patient has an implantable and wearable biomedical device with wireless communication technology, doctors are able to have updates and treatments in real time for those in their care. These devices gather data from sick patients and instantly transmit the progress to a doctor to be checked, remotely. Because of the reliability of a 5G network, life supporting devices are able to work quickly, and without complications of interruption. According to the article, developing the “self-health” systems aided by 5G technology will be critical for the lack of healthcare workers we will experience by 2035.

Looking ahead, Imaging Technology News predicts the 5G networks could be the “catalyst towards smart hospitals;” a center of streamlined systems and information that efficiently carries through the patient experience. Some of those concepts, says the article, includes a smart scheduling system, facial recognition or fingerprint scanners, and multiple imaging transfers between medical professionals. Importantly, too, 5G networks will enable “crosstalk” between medical devices, monitoring devices, and medical records, creating one, integrated system.

facial scanning
AI facial recognition

There are a lot of predictions about our healthcare system due to so many changes in our world today amidst the COVID, flu, RSV, healthcare worker shortage, and so many other variables. But, here, there is proof of a silver lining. Technology has made it possible to reroute some of these fears and bring some light to some dark statistics. We are on the precipice of new and big developments in our healthcare systems. The future is here and we are excited. Click here to learn more about Vesta’s partnership with MIT for artificial intelligence research.

Top Trends for Radiology and Imaging in 2023

There is no doubt that radiology and imaging will have a few challenges in 2023. With Medicare pay reductions, hospital closures, worker burnout, and a shortage of radiologists, the industry must be creative to continue to provide exceptional patient care.

The industry leaders remain optimistic about their services. There have been more technological advancements, and people are still dedicated to their patients and healthcare. Their efforts are winning combinations for radiology, and they are determined to provide good service despite the challenges.

The current trend for radiology in 2023 will be for more consolidation of radiology practices. Using technology, many urban and outlying hospitals with minimal staffing can transmit information to control centers with professional radiology staffing. The financial burden of training imaging technicians will be, at a minimum allowing the hospital staffing budgets to be used for hands-on patient care.

The Value of Radiology and Imaging

Radiology is a “value-based system” that can reduce medical costs and improve patient outcomes through early disease detection and diagnosis with imaging screening programs. The medical profession, insurance companies, and hospitals recognize this value but struggle with ways to balance their budgets while providing patient care.

Investing in reorganizing the radiology departments has put much of the spendable medical funds to constructive use. The most significant expense for 2023 will be the expansion of artificial intelligence and equipment needed to provide the services.

2023 Equipment, Artificial Intelligence, and Education in Radiology

In November 2022, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) held its expo in Chicago, Illinois. Over 900 displays on the expo floor showed just a glimpse of the exciting future of radiology and imaging.

Featured equipment at the expo included MRI contrast that uses 50% less gadolinium, CT scanners with improved image resolution–and less noise, X-ray-based imaging systems, and CT scan with superior structural supports and better equipment warranties.

ct scan
CT Scanners Will See Improvements

Research and development have also made great strides in new X-ray lung airflow imaging technologies. Also, innovative breast imaging technologies that use ultrasound and elastography may reduce the need for some biopsies.

The FDA has now cleared hundreds of artificial intelligence algorithms that will be able to help radiologists with their workflow. These algorithms are applications that can help lessen worker burnout. Networks can integrate these applications, which allows organizations to work together, distributing workload and expertise efficiently.

Artificial intelligence spans many areas of radiology and imaging. Some of the applications not only improve the productivity of radiologists, but AI tools can improve imaging quality to detect disease and even embolisms or hemorrhages.

Artificial intelligence is making strides in education for radiologists and technicians. Research and Innovation are essential to the integrity of the practice, and artificial intelligence is helping to fulfill the academic needs of the staff.

radiology trends
AI in radiology

More to Come

Every year technology advances and enhances healthcare workflows and processes. Most hospitals and clinics still in operation have gone digital, allowing them to operate with advanced equipment and programs designed to provide exceptional patient care.

Radiologists and technicians are still in demand even if the systems incorporate more use of technology. Any radiology shortages can be remedied with the help of established and tech-forward teleradiology companies like Vesta Teleradiology. Education in the radiology and imaging field will need to keep up with the changes to make the technicians better while improving patient diagnoses and patient care

 

The Benefits of Teleradiology for Hospitals

The many benefits of teleradiology have become increasingly important to urban and rural hospitals. Not only has the service greatly improved patient care, but it has also been a tremendous cost-saving for hospitals.

Teleradiology transmits X-rays and other diagnostic images from one location to another. The transmission allows medical information to be interpreted or consulted by specialists in the medical field practically anywhere in the world.

hospital radiology
An x-ray of a head

 

Many medical specialists reside and practice in large cities where the need for their services is in the highest demand. Also, hospitals and research centers in larger populated areas provide more financial support for radiologists’ services and resources, which can increase their productivity and field of study.

Better Patient Care

Teleradiology has torn down social, economic, age-related, and physical barriers to a patient’s ability to receive the best diagnostic care in the shortest possible time. Hospitals near and far have been able to do this by supporting their patients in implementing teleradiology services.

A patient does not need to travel great distances at enormous expense for expert diagnostic opinions any longer. Plus, delayed diagnoses can be critical to a patient’s health and well-being. With teleradiological services, a patient can receive an expert opinion within a short period from their location.

Teleradiology has enhanced a hospital’s emergency care by accessing a cooperating radiologist’s 24-hour/7 days per week availability. Before the technology was available, emergency room staff would need to wake up radiologists at home and request their presence in the hospital. Then the report may not be available for several days.

ambulance
Teleradiology can greatly enhance emergency care services

Patients can obtain a second opinion for their diagnosis much easier now with teleradiology. A hospital can send records anywhere worldwide at a patient’s request.

It also does not matter the hospital’s social or economic environmental location because all hospitals with the internet have access to highly valued diagnosticians.

Cost Benefits of Teleradiology

One of the most obvious cost benefits of teleradiology services for a hospital is the reduction–and sometimes the elimination–of radiologists. Hospitals can use allotted financial budgets for hands-on patient care.

With the cost savings of reduced staff, the hospital can also invest more money into the equipment for MRIs, CT scans, ultrasound, and digital X-ray equipment. More quality equipment can enhance the teleradiology process with better diagnostic tools for radiologists.

When hospitals access teleradiology services, the services charge by the radiological exam. Each consult with a radiologist is a case-by-case situation–much less expensive than having a full-time employed radiologist.

Other Benefits to the Hospitals

All hospitals rely on medical professionals collaborating to provide the best diagnoses for their patients. With teleradiology, distance for this collaboration is not a factor. Specialists can affect patient care by providing input to local hospital staff for diagnosis and care planning.

For a hospital’s staff, collaboration becomes education. The learning possibilities for teleradiology are endless, and the hospital team is learning from the best to become the best.

Hospitals have benefited from teleradiology tremendously over the past few years. The technology for this service is advancing rapidly and will continue to change the business of patient care for hospitals worldwide.

hospitals

Radiology Services for Hospitals from Vesta

No matter your facility’s size or location, Vesta offers comprehensive teleradiology services to hospitals. Look to us for efficiency, accuracy and competitive pricing. Please reach out to us to learn more about how we integrate with your current workflow.

 

How is Technology Helping with the Healthcare Labor Shortage?

The COVID-19 pandemic may seem never ending. While the exposure and infection numbers may be shrinking, the long-lasting effects of this illness are revealing themselves. One of the biggest and most concerning shortages is the labor shortage.

Of course, labor shortage can be vague. What industries are seeing these shortages, and how do those shortages affect customers? Many industries are seeing labor shortages, but one of the most concerning is the healthcare labor shortage.

staffing and labor shortage
Burnout has led many to quit their healthcare jobs

The Healthcare Labor Shortage

The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be tough on several fronts, especially for the first responders providing care and assistance to those suffering. Doctors and nurses were on the front lines treating patients, finding answers, and working long hours. Many healthcare workers were forced out for different physical and mental reasons like burnout. The pressures were so great that nearly 1.5 million healthcare workers left the profession in the first two months of the pandemic.

As the pandemic continues to wane, healthcare workers are returning to hospitals and doctors’ offices. The return is great, but the numbers are still down, and jobs are still left vacant. In fact, healthcare employment has still not returned to pre-pandemic numbers. Even in those who have returned, anecdotal evidence suggests many are thinking of leaving soon. This means sick people, some of the most vulnerable in society, will feel the consequences. 

Technology and the Healthcare Labor shortage

How do healthcare providers keep their invaluable workers and staff? How do they combat the pressures and stressors created and highlighted by the worldwide pandemic? The short answer is technology.

Healthcare providers can automate different tasks to allow healthcare providers – doctors and nurses – the freedom and space to care for patients. The best news is we live in the age of technology. There are dozens of different technological applications that can be used in these areas.

Inbound Calls

Hospitals and doctors’ offices are often overloaded by inbound calls, even when they are fully staffed. When these providers are understaffed, however, it can be time-consuming to field these ceaseless inbound calls. Patients can and should be encouraged to schedule their own appointments through web-based applications and portals. Not only will this open up more time and space for healthcare providers, but these tasks help empower patients to be more involved in their healthcare journey.

 

staffing in healthcare
Technology allows patients to book their appointments online

 Intake Process

The amount of paperwork in the healthcare industry is daunting. Technology, however, can limit the paperwork and streamline the intake process altogether. Mobile check-in and registration can make it easier for patients to check in, but it also limits the person-to-person contact that so easily spreads diseases.

 Access and Availability

Perhaps the best advantage of medicine is the access and availability afforded through telemedicine. Telemedicine isn’t necessarily “new,” but it has been brought to the forefront. Telemedicine is the ability to meet with medical professionals and healthcare workers to get information and establish treatment plans.

It’s especially beneficial when it comes to specialized medicine, like radiology. Teleradiology, the term widely used for this specific section, is a much more recent development. It helps patients get information and necessary access to radiology professionals.

Teleradiology allows a radiologist to get, review, and interpret CT or MRI images. Radiologists are able to communicate important information to patients who are desperate for that information. It means fewer radiologists can meet with more patients and get those patients the information and treatment they need.

Virtual Monitoring Systems

Telesitter programs help reduce the workload and potential burnout for nurses. With these systems, cameras are setup so that virtual monitoring can take place and track patient activity. Any time there are concerns or emergencies, staff would be notified.

telemonitoring
Telesitters offer virtual monitoring

The world is changing. It’s the one true constant. But technology offers us the chance to adapt and modify the ways we move about in the world. Technology can make things easier and fill in the gaps that form.

What to Expect During a Breast Cancer Screening at an Imaging Center

The best way to detect breast cancer in its early stages is by mammograms–merely an X-ray of the breast. There is no financial strain because health insurance plans are required to cover the costs of mammograms every one or two years.

When you reach your forties, you should begin conversing with your medical providers about when to start and how often you should get a mammogram.

breast cancer awareness
Take care to get your screenings

 

Specialists usually recommend the procedure for women between 50 to 74 years of age at average risk of breast cancer and performed every one or two years depending on the woman’s risk factors.

How to Prepare for a Mammogram

When your healthcare provider suggests scheduling a mammogram for the first time, there are some considerations.

If possible, you should consider making your appointments at a nearby facility that specializes in mammograms. In doing this, you can have technicians who are very familiar with the process and accurately compare your mammograms yearly.

mammogram technology
Mammogram screening

If you need to change facilities, it’s best to arrange to have all your records sent to the new clinic for X-ray comparison. It is also an excellent idea to bring all the dates and locations of any previous breast procedures done.

Specialists advise that women avoid making mammogram appointments the week before their periods. Breasts are more swollen and sensitive during this time which can cause the mammogram procedure to be uncomfortable for them and may interfere with taking clear X-rays.

Technicians will advise that women wear pants or a skirt with a top that they can easily remove along with their bra. They also recommend that women do not use any deodorant, lotions, or powders that may show up as spots on the X-ray.

When You Arrive at the Imaging Center

Most technicians are very considerate and sensitive to what women experience during mammograms. They will ask you to undress above the waist and will give you a wrap to wear.

Many clinics have private dressing areas where you undress and wait for your technician to escort you into the X-ray room. There will only be the two of you in this area which is helpful to reduce any anxieties you may have.

You will stand in front of the mammogram machine, and the technician will position your body and breast for the most accurate X-rays. Your breast will rest on the device, and a plastic upper plate will lower and compress your breast.

The process takes 10 to 15 seconds for each body position, and there are usually only two or three X-rays taken per breast. The whole procedure only takes about 20 minutes.

Your Mammography Results

Mammography produces black-and-white digital images of your breast tissue that will be sent to a physician specializing in radiology to interpret. An imaging center could also refer to a teleradiology company to have a radiologist do the interpretation. Most clinics offer 2D mammograms for breast screening, but many facilities now offer 3D mammograms.

The radiologist will then report their findings to your healthcare provider. This process will take approximately ten days but could take longer. The radiology report will determine if you will need further X-rays, possible MRIs, or treatments. Physicians call back about 10 to 13% of women for abnormal findings, but most of these findings are not breast cancer.

Regular mammograms are an easy, safe way to screen for breast cancer. The most challenging part about the process may be remembering to make your annual appointment, and many women make their birthdays a reminder to make their yearly appointment.

What can be more celebratory than scheduling what may be a life-saving procedure for your health on the most important day of the year for you, your friends, and your loved ones?