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Illuminate Brings Critical Data Into View

by Luke Molnar

Expectations are high for radiologists at Detroit’s Henry Ford Medical Center: Read 100 or more studies a day, maintain high levels of patient safety and quality reporting, grow in your diagnostic skills, comply with ever increasing documentation requirements, train and mentor residents, and conduct meaningful research.

Helping them accomplish all their tasks is Softek Illuminate®, a data aggregation solution that gives radiologists instant access to the wealth of information buried in their electronic medical systems. “Illuminate® empowers our radiologists by giving them control over all their data,” says Dr. Safwan Halabi, director of imaging informatics at the 802-bed academic hospital. “In a radiology department where we have dictated thousands and thousands of studies, we can now go back to them, review them, make comparisons and validate our clinical practice. It’s become indispensable.”

Of particular value when reading studies is Illuminate’s® Clinical View, which automatically pulls up all relevant prior imaging, pathology and lab reports every time a radiologist begins reading a new exam. “The Holy Grail in radiology is the ability to view clinical information, but it can be cumbersome to find the information you need while you’re trying to increase productivity,” says Dr. Halabi. “With Illuminate®, I can instantly see all the Impressions of prior similar body part imaging, and if there was any lab or pathology associated with this patient, before interpreting the new exam. I get a picture of the patient without having to log into the EHR or other system.”

Patient care is further enhanced through Illuminate® Alerts. When radiologists recommend a follow-up study for a patient, they can set an Alert to be notified when the subsequent images or pathology reports are ready, or if the patient failed to come in for them. By working alongside the referring physician in tracking key patients, Dr. Halabi is confident Henry Ford is closing the imaging loop on patient care. Additionally, he is able to view the subsequent images to determine if he was right to recommend the follow-up.

“Not only am I putting closure to interpretations,” he says, “but I can learn if, for example, what I saw really warranted the CT that I recommended or if it was just an artifact. I want a definitive understanding.”

He and his colleagues also want to avoid unnecessary imaging, so they use Illuminate’s® built-in repository of comparison studies to reduce redundancies. “There’s a large variance in children’s bones,” he says, “but radiologists who don’t read a lot of pediatric studies might not know what a normal variant is. With Illuminate®, it’s easy for me to look at all the hands of 5-year-olds to see what’s normal. Instead of ordering a comparison study of the other hand, I have the information I need to make the diagnosis quickly and correctly.” Diagnosis is further aided by the easy access Illuminate® gives the radiologists to the patient’s prior imaging, laboratory and pathology reports.

In this climate of increased demands – as well as outside competition threatening the traditional on-site radiology department – Illuminate® keeps the radiologists at Henry Ford ahead of the game. They are distinguishing their group by quality reporting, efficient workflow and working closer with clinicians to ensure follow-up patient care.