While occupational stress and fatigue have been well described throughout medicine, the radiology community is particularly susceptible due to declining reimbursements, heightened demands for service deliverables, and increasing exam volume and complexity. The resulting occupational stress can be variable in nature and dependent upon a number of intrinsic and extrinsic stressors. Intrinsic stressors largely account for inter-radiologist stress variability and relate to unique attributes of the radiologist such as personality, emotional state, education/training, and experience. Extrinsic stressors may account for intra-radiologist stress variability and include cumulative workload and task complexity. The creation of personalized stress profiles creates a mechanism for accounting for both inter- and intra-radiologist stress variability, which is essential in creating customizable stress intervention strategies. One viable option for real-time occupational stress measurement is voice stress analysis, which can be directly implemented through existing speech recognition technology and has been proven to be effective in stress measurement and analysis outside of medicine. This technology operates by detecting stress in the acoustic properties of speech through a number of different variables including duration, glottis source factors, pitch distribution, spectral structure, and intensity. The correlation of these speech derived stress measures with outcomes data can be used to determine the user-specific inflection point at which stress becomes detrimental to clinical performance.
Stress; Voice analysis; Speech recognition
Successful adoption of new technology development can be accentuated by learning and applying the scientific principles of innovation diffusion. This is of particular importance to areas within the medical imaging practice which have lagged in innovation; perhaps, the most notable of which is reporting which has remained relatively stagnant for over a century. While the theoretical advantages of structured reporting have been well documented throughout the medical imaging community, adoption to date has been tepid and largely relegated to the academic and breast imaging communities. Widespread adoption will likely require an alternative approach to innovation, which addresses the heterogeneity and diversity of the practicing radiologist community along with the ever-changing expectations in service delivery. The challenges and strategies for reporting innovation and adoption are discussed, with the goal of adapting and customizing new technology to the preferences and needs of individual end-users.
Innovation adoption; Structured reporting; Medical imaging
The pioneering work performed in the social sciences on diffusion of innovation can be applied to medical imaging and shed valuable insights as to how innovation is analyzed and adopted within the population of end-users. Successful innovation must take into account unique stakeholder differences, changes in communication and social interactions, and shifting priorities in market economics. The dramatic changes currently underway in current medical imaging practice provides unique innovation opportunities to those individuals and companies which can utilize this knowledge and effect change in objective and reproducible means. Successful innovation should rely upon data-driven objective analysis, which can scientifically validate the inherent strengths and weaknesses of the innovation, when compared with the idea or technology it supercedes.
Innovation; Technology development; Data mining
Commoditization pressures in medicine have risked transforming service provider selection from “survival of the fittest” to “survival of the cheapest.” Quality- and safety-oriented mandates by the Institute of Medicine have led to the creation of a number of data-driven quality-centric initiatives including Pay for Performance and Evidence-Based Medicine. A synergistic approach to creating quantitative accountability in medical service delivery is through the creation of consumer-oriented performance metrics which provide patients with objective data related to individual service provider quality, safety, cost-efficacy, efficiency, and customer service. These performance metrics could in turn be customized to the individual preferences and health care needs of each individual patient, thereby providing an objective methodology for service provider selection while empowering health care consumers.
Patient empowerment; Quality performance; Data mining
Structured reporting offers a number of theoretical advantages, perhaps the most important of which is creation of standardized report databases. The standardized data created can in turn be used to customize data display, report content, historical data retrieval, interpretation analysis, and results communication in both a context and user-specific manner. In addition, these referenceable report databases can be used to facilitate the practice of evidence based medicine, through data-driven meta-analysis and determination of best practice guidelines. This concept will only be realized if the customized data delivery technology provides real and tangible value to end users, accentuates workflow, can be seamlessly integrated into existing information system technologies, and be shown to yield reproducibility of the evidence domain. The time is here for the medical imaging and clinical communities to embrace this vision in order to improve clinical outcomes and patient safety.
Structured reporting; data customization; evidence-based medicine; data mining; decision support
The need for specialized individuals to manage picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) has been recognized with the creation of a new professional title: PACS administrator. This position requires skill sets that bridge the current domains of radiology technologists (RTs), information systems analysts, and radiology administrators. Health care organizations, however, have reported difficfiulty in defining the functions that a PACS administrator should perform—a challenge compounded when the tries to combine this complex set of capabilities into one individual. As part of a larger effort to define the PACS professional, we developed an extensive but not exclusive consensus list of business, technical, and behavioral competencies desirable in the dedicated PACS professional. Through an on-line survey, radiologists, RTs, information technology specialists, corporate information officers, and radiology administrators rated the importance of these competencies. The results of this survey are presented, and the implications for implementation in training and certification efforts are discussed.
PACS administrator; PACS; radiology management; information systems management