“That Was Easy”

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By Kimberly Harrell, RT(R)(MR), CRA, CMPE         

As radiology administrators, all of us have struggled on some level with the paradigm shift for imaging reimbursement. Moving from a fee-for-service model to a quality driven model has many challenges. The definition of quality of care can be very ambiguous. As managers, we are not at the front line assisting with the care delivery. How do our teams know what “quality care” is? How do we measure quality care? And, perhaps more importantly, how do we ensure our staff have the knowledge to implement and deliver quality care each and every time they encounter a patient?

The above questions are ones we have each pondered. Not all staff are natural nurturers or quality care givers. As leaders, we must recognize this and work to improve our staff’s care giving skills. We must also remember that the fee-for-service environment was about volume and that most our teams have grown up in that productivity driven environment. However, times have changed. Rather than money and the bottom line, our focus is on the patient and creating a quality, caring healthcare experience.

By now, most of our teams have been introduced to, trained for, and have measurements they are expected to meet regarding quality care. There are now various organizations that assist in measuring and identifying “where we are” as an organization and down to the various department levels. At my organization, we utilize an online and paper survey company called Press Ganey. The system provides us with amazing tools with which we can grow and improve quality. As leaders we must be engaged and do the “deep dive” into the data and determine the answers to questions such as, “Why do my patients think we are not respecting their privacy?” and “How can we improve our patient’s interpretation of us providing extra privacy for them?”

My team and I started this journey in January 2016.  All the work was employee-inspired and employee-led, and resulted in rapid positive improvements. We took a deep look at the data and chose very precise techniques to address the areas on which we knew we could improve. No two issues would be fixed using the same technique.

During my presentation at the 2018 Annual Meeting (on Sunday, July 22 at 4:30 PM), I will outline a few specific successful initiatives we implemented within our radiology department. Along with this, we will review the data behind the details and how we improved our patient satisfaction scores. My hope, in presenting the steps of our journey, is that you will seek your own “easy wins” for your teams. While I refer to our wins as “easy”, the hard wiring of these proven concepts requires dedication and engagement. The engagement can be a challenge, but I can attest to proven results when you put your team in the driver’s seat for change and improvement. The best part – the financial investment was zero dollars!


Kimberly Harrell, RT(R)(MR), CRA, CMPE is the ancillary services manager of imaging at Kaiser Permanente in Tacoma, WA. She can be reached at Harrell.k@ghc.org

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