“Change is good, but be prepared,” says Dr. Stamatia Destounis at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care in Rochester, New York. She bases this piece of advice on the knowledge she gained when the clinic made the transfer from analog mammography to a digital facility in 2006.
The value of site visits
“Site visits provide valuable input. It is important to be aware of the particular requirements of your facility and to have a list of questions ready when initiating discussions with a supplier, regardless of whether you are digitizing your business or planning for an upgrade or change-out.”
Participation of the IT department
“Close cooperation from the beginning with the IT department is another success factor. It may be necessary to make adjustments to the infrastructure (backbone and network) and the maintenance plan.”
Careful workflow analysis
“To ensure that you have listed the right requirements, think carefully about the workflow you want to achieve. It may include double reading, fast image retrieval and display of current and prior studies. If your organization benefits from remote-location reading by radiologists, it is vital that such aspects as image retrieval are also optimized for high-latency networks and remote environments. Furthermore, full integration with other systems and modalities—regardless of vendor—should be a matter of course.
“Never forget the impact of the human element,” she continues. “In every workflow, there are people who occupy specific positions and have responsibilities. A change in the workflow involves changes in positions and responsibilities, and there is always a learning curve connected with this form of process.”
The reading environment
“With regard to the human element, do not underestimate the importance of quality and ergonomic factors. Radiologists spend almost all of their time in front of the workstation and require a well-functioning working environment. This ranges from the tools that support the reading process, such as automatic hanging of mammograms, multi-modality support—particularly in diagnostic mammography—or efficient pre-fetching of priors, to the right lighting, adjustable keyboard platforms, office chairs and so forth.
“All of these considerations, in addition to a clear picture of the present situation and definite vision of the future, should be discussed with an experienced supplier with a proven track record who can guide you through the pitfalls,” concludes Dr. Destounis.
About Elizabeth Wende Breast Care
Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, LLC is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of breast imaging and breast cancer diagnosis. It is one of the largest freestanding breast imaging centers in the US, and is the largest single-site breast imaging center in New York State. Elizabeth Wende Breast Care welcomes 350 patients a day, of whom approximately 250 are screening patients.