6. Ensuring prompt and reliable information flows (integrations into the wider hospital environment)
The 4 main standard information flows within an imaging procedure are:
- Patient is examined and the region (body part / symptom) of interest is identified by a clinician. The referral to Radiology follows agreed clinical referral guidelines
- This initial consultation is documented electronically with an agreed minimum data set and shared electronically or printed for the patient/carer;
- If there is a process to obtain any other results required to corroborate results (such as laboratory blood tests or previous imaging) this should be initiated.
- Diagnostics Performed:
- Imaging information captured to include necessary text, image and dose information
- Interpretation and capturing in a format that can be shared and possibly coded for ease of future aggregation (to support research or statistics / post event review)
- Interpretation may be local (i.e. completed in the hospital by a Radiologist or suitably trained Technologist) or remote via telemedicine (i.e. reporting performed in another location outside of the hospital).
- Templates (stock text) can be prepared and used to ensure all data captured and a standardised format – increases speed at which reports can be issued plus the speed at which the results can be interpreted by clinicians for treatment.
- Result Distribution
- In its most basic form, rapidly conveying reports is crucial. Speed is of the essence in COVID-19 patients.
- In an established informatics environment, the standard posting is to Electronic Patient Records, Patient Health Record, Community/Primary Care Systems is acceptable; in a manual paper environment, multiple copies of the report should be dispatched via the usual processes.
- There must be an ability to recall patients if necessary due to poor imaging identified or the need for further projections / examinations to rule out other pathologies or causes as necessary
- Management Reports for local, national, or international use
- Consideration on how image transmission can take place if required to other sites or workstations (for example if specialist interpretation of complex imaging is required).