Informatics in Radiology: Measuring and Improving Quality in Radiology: Meeting the Challenge with Informatics

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The issue of quality in radiology is discussed and the use of informatics technologies to measure and improve quality in radiology is described, with emphasis on the ways in which these tools will help radiologists practice safely and effectively and prove the value of their services.

Quality is becoming a critical issue for radiology. Measuring and improving quality is essential not only to ensure optimum effectiveness of care and comply with increasing regulatory requirements, but also to combat current trends leading to commoditization of radiology services. A key challenge to implementing quality improvement programs is to develop methods to collect knowledge related to quality care and to deliver that knowledge to practitioners at the point of care. There are many dimensions to quality in radiology that need to be measured, monitored, and improved, including examination appropriateness, procedure protocol, accuracy of interpretation, communication of imaging results, and measuring and monitoring performance improvement in quality, safety, and efficiency. Informatics provides the key technologies that can enable radiologists to measure and improve quality. However, few institutions recognize the opportunities that informatics methods provide to improve safety and quality. The information technology infrastructure in most hospitals is limited, and they have suboptimal adoption of informatics techniques. Institutions can tackle the challenges of assessing and improving quality in radiology by means of informatics.


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Article History

Received: Sept 22 2010
Revision requested: Jan 5 2011
Revision received: June 28 2011
Accepted: June 30 2011
Published online: Oct 4 2011
Published in print: Oct 2011