We’re All Facing the Same Challenges

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By Kristina Gostic, MHA

On August 18 and 19, David Partridge, the director of imaging for the OhioHealth Neighborhood Care division, and his leadership team hosted me for a site visit through AHRA’s Partners in Learning program. It was a very informative visit and a great pleasure to meet David and his team, as well as to see how the ambulatory operations of a larger, not-for-profit health system compare to my facility, Jupiter Medical Center.

Something that struck me throughout my visit was that despite the 1,000 miles that separate OhioHealth from Jupiter Medical Center, the issues that David and I face on a daily basis are strikingly similar, and the issues facing the imaging industry are universal regardless of the organization’s structure. Some examples include preparing for clinical decision support, determining billing for breast tomosynthesis (not all payers cover the service yet), trying to keep up with the ever changing technology, learning how to do more with less, and finally, the growing pains of managing operations and patient demand when a service grows. This highlights the benefits of professional organizations such as AHRA as well as the value of networking with colleagues throughout the imaging industry. We can learn a lot and implement more effective strategies if we share lessons learned and avoid reinventing the wheel.

A second insight was the complexity that comes with a large hospital system. There were separate reporting structures for each imaging department at each hospital, a separate reporting structure for outpatient imaging, and two separate radiology groups reading for the 12 hospitals and 14 outpatient imaging centers. This requires a significant amount of collaboration and cross facility communication to insure consistency for the patients coming through the different service locations.

I was extremely impressed by my visit to OhioHealth. There are some takeaways that I plan to immediately implement to make my department stronger. For example, OhioHealth has a very well developed patient excellence program. I was able to meet with one of the service excellence consultants, and she shared with me that their program is designed to express the importance of service excellence as early as orientation for new hires. This sets the tone for their employment that service excellence and the patient experience are priorities for the organization. She also shared that they have targeted interventions and training based on performance. These include videos, scripting, thank you cards for patients, and many other tactics. They utilize their patient satisfaction scores to determine where extra training is needed to help improve the overall patient experience.

A second takeaway that I will bring back is the work that OhioHealth is doing in their central scheduling department. They are working towards a “one touch revenue cycle,” allowing a patient to be scheduled and preregistered in one phone call instead of multiple calls. They are also working to create a full contact center that includes central scheduling, patient financial advocates, and IT support for the patient portal. This would result in one place for a patient to call and get help with any of their questions. They are also launching online scheduling with electronic reminders to patients regarding preps and appointment locations. Overall their central scheduling department is looking for innovative ways to be more patient-centric and improve access to their services.

My visit to OhioHealth was a wonderful learning opportunity. The people I met were extremely knowledgeable and dedicated. The culture of the organization was very team focused, and OhioHealth is doing great things for the patients in their community.

Kristina Gostic, MHA is the director of imaging services at Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, FL. She can be reached at Kristina.Gostic@jupitermed.com.

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