7 Steps to Achieving Radiology Department Excellence

With workforce shortages and medical imaging expenses across the board reaching over $65 billion each year, it’s becoming more and more difficult to identify ways to increase efficiency, eliminate wasteful resources and keep employees engaged. In order to help your imaging department reach a level of operational excellence, we have compiled 7 important steps you can implement to help maintain a balance between fiscal responsibility and excellent patient care.

STEP 1: Defining the current state of your department. 

Understanding where your department currently lies is crucial when it comes to planning.  In order to get an accurate depiction of your department’s current state, it is imperative that you get your employees and patients perspectives as to where you could make improvements.  Remember, there is always room for growth. Be open to feedback from those who make your department go round.  After all, your staff knows best how your department is functioning day to day and engaging them in the process helps with patient satisfaction and loyalty. 

STEP 2: Defining your ideal state. 

Ask yourself, and your team, how should the department look?  Make sure you have measurable indicators to compare how your department is running versus how your department should be running.  Seeing where your department lies regarding patient satisfaction, financial performance, equipment utilization and staff productivity will give you the base line for where your operation currently stands and what needs to be done to get your department running in an ideal fashion.

STEP 3: Identifying barriers and issues that your department will have to navigate. 

To identify the challenges that are preventing your department from performing at maximum efficiency, take note from steps 1 and 2 and ask for your staff and patients input.  Try to get to the root of the issues, so that you can create a lasting solution to the barriers your department currently faces.

STEP 4: Developing your plan of action.

Brainstorm solutions with your staff on how to get on the road to operational excellence.  Prioritize projects that will have the best impact on your department and start to put an execution plan together.  While brainstorming solutions, keep in mind how any changes may affect other departments.  To achieve true operational excellence, any affected parties need to be informed and willing to work together.

STEP 5: Setting your department up for continued improvement. 

In order to continue to grow and improve your department, you must not be close-minded.  Understanding that there is always room for improvement is imperative to the long-term success and growth of your department.  Don’t simply implement the changes in your plan of action; make sure your staff understands WHY these changes have been put in place and how they will ultimately benefit them, the department, and your patients. 

STEP 6: Continue to Monitor and Manage Operations.

Just because you have a plan in place, doesn’t mean its fool proof.  You should always be looking for more efficient ways to run your department.  Using reporting tools and real-time data will help you make informed decisions about the operation of your department.   Monitoring inventory, managing overtime, and tracking cycle times will help you become more efficient overall.  Making sure your staff is properly trained and informed will ensure that your department is running efficiently.

STEP 7: Designing a Fail Safe. 

Make sure you are always prepared for the unexpected.  By creating standard operating processes and working with your team to identify and address any issues quickly, you will minimize unexpected events before they become a crisis. Create a fail-safe plan that will allow your department to continue to run efficiently. 

Communication is key in the success of your department. Engage your staff and ask for your patients input- and remember, there is always room for growth.  What once worked for you may not always work for you now or in the future. Imaging leaders that are open to new ideas are the ones that will succeed and reach their overall goal of operational excellence.

Contact us to learn more about how Shared Imaging can help your imaging department reach operational excellence.

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