Navigation Links
Outsourced radiologists perform better reading for fewer hospitals
Date:1/4/2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Experience working for a particular hospital matters when it comes to the performance of radiologists who work for outsourcing teleradiology companies, according to a team of researchers, whose finding could have important implications, given the growing use of telemedicine.

"More than half of all hospitals now use teleradiology services," said Jonathan Clark, assistant professor of health policy and administration, Penn State. "Hospitals send their X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and other images to outsourcing companies who then forward the images to individual radiologists. Over the course of time, these radiologists gain a tremendous amount of experience by reading images from hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of customers."

But is the experience gained by reading images for so many hospitals the same as the experience gained by repeatedly reading images for just a few hospitals?

"There is debate out there about whether or not we should be outsourcing this kind of work," Clark said. "Some say that one CT is the same as another, so it doesn't really matter if the CT is coming from Hospital A or Hospital B; what matters is that the person reading the image has the right training and experience. The other side of the debate says that radiological images are not commodities and that the process is more nuanced than simply exchanging bits of information over the information super highway. From this perspective a radiologist's performance will improve as he or she learns the nuances of reading images from a particular hospital."

To determine whether learning and performance improvement are customer specific, the researchers, who also included Robert Huckman of the Harvard Business School and Bradley Staats of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, examined the experience and productivity of 97 radiologists reading more than 2.7 million images from 1,431 hospitals.

"By estimating learning curves, we were able to determine the extent to which a radiologist's productivity reading an image for hospital A was a function of his or her prior experience reading for hospital A, versus his or her prior experience reading the same image for other hospitals," Clark said.

The team found that the radiologist's prior experience with an ordering customer has a greater effect on performance than his or her overall experience reading the same type of image for other customers.

"Somebody might look at that finding and say either what we should have is outsourcing radiologists who read for only a few customers or we shouldn't have outsourcing at all," Clark said, "because if you're going to focus a radiologist on one or two customers, then you might as well make the argument that you should have him or her work as an employee for that customer."

The researchers also found that the customer-specific knowledge gained by individual radiologists is aided by the variety of customers with whom a radiologist has experience.

"How can it be that both specialization and variety are important?" Clark said. "Our models can only take us so far toward answering this question, but we think the implication is that there are limits to both customer specialization and customer variety, and that the optimum is to have a nice mix of both specialized experience and variety in customers."

In addition, Clark, Huckman and Staats found that the customer specificity of learning diminished as the outsourcing company gained more experience with a particular customer.

"The implication is that customer-specific capabilities may also be built at the level of the outsourcing organization as a whole and not just at the level of the individual radiologist," Clark said. "Overall, this finding suggests that while there is customer specificity to learning for outsourcing radiologists, the implication is not that we shouldn't outsource. Rather, our findings provide guidance to outsourcers in terms of how they might think about designing the work of their radiologists to maximize productivity. For new customers, an outsourcing firm may wish to keep individual providers relatively more focused on serving a specific customer. As organizational experience accrues with a specific customer, however, such dedication becomes less critical."

The results of the study appeared online on December 20, 2012, in the journal Organization Science.

"Our findings may be particularly important, given the growing use of telemedicine and the uncertainty associated with delivering health care in a virtual way. In the setting we studied, teleradiologists are often reading emergency cases, where speed and productivity can be critical, so it is important for outsourcing radiology firms to understand how they might design their operations to improve performance and ensure a rapid response for each customer."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sara LaJeunesse
SDL13@psu.edu
814-863-4325
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Most patients in the dark about what radiologists do
2. Lung nodule matching software dramatically increases radiologists efficiency
3. Radiologists rank themselves as less than competent on health policy issues
4. Worldwide Internet Sensation and Ashland Musician George Dennehy Performs at the Science Museum of Virginia
5. Concert Vocalist Maureen Christine to Perform at Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook’s New Year’s Eve Gala
6. New Golf Strength and Flexibility Tests from Somax Performance Institute
7. FDA Clears Laser for all Critical Steps in Cataract Surgery: Center For Sight Performs the Most LENSAR Laser Procedures in U.S.
8. New, Last-Minute Golf Gifts from Somax Performance Institute
9. UCLA performs first breathing lung transplant in United States
10. Umbilical cord cells outperform bone marrow cells in repairing damaged hearts
11. A scientific explanation to why people perform better after receiving a compliment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Experts from the ... AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention Center in ... topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and family engagement. , ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX users can easily ... of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over 1,300 hand-drawn pictures ... . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media or text in ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin Johnson ... Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his patients. ... the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic surgeons ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent ... most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals are ... many of these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme mood ... something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was a ... children and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving on ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Global Blood ... biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment ... today announced the closing of its previously announced ... stock, at the public offering price of $18.75 ... offering were offered by GBT. GBT estimates net ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ALEXANDRIA, Va. , June 24, 2016 ... a set of recommendations that would allow ... information (HCEI) with entities that make formulary and coverage ... determine the "value" of new medicines. The ... that does not appear on the drug label, a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... PUNE, India , June 24, 2016 ... "Pen Needles Market by Type (Standard Pen Needles, Safety ... 12mm), Therapy (Insulin, GLP-1, Growth Hormone), Mode of Purchase ... published by MarketsandMarkets, This report studies the market for ... is expected to reach USD 2.81 Billion by 2021 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: