Medical Imaging and Emergency Medicine

Medical Imaging and Emergency Medicine

Expert says by working together the two services can make emergency care more effective and efficient

Through greater collaboration, hospital medical imaging services and hospital emergency department staff can overcome many of the current and future challenges facing the provision of care in the nation’s hospital emergency rooms. So says emergency medical expert Sandra Schneider, M.D., in a three-part interview with Medical Imaging Talk, McKesson Corp.’s blog on medical imaging. Dr. Schneider is a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a past president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.  Allan Noordvyk, principal product strategist for McKesson Enterprise Medical Imaging, conducted the interview with Dr. Schneider.

In Part 1 of the series,  Dr. Schneider discusses the chronic problem of emergency room overcrowding and how medical imaging services can be better utilized to alleviate the situation, which interferes with patient care and drives up costs unnecessarily. “To the extent that medical imaging can be done rapidly and the final interpretation by an attending radiologist can be available rapidly 24/7/365, emergency department flow can improve and length of stay can be reduced,” she says.

In Part 2 of the series, Dr. Schneider predicts that the insurance mandate provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will increase the use of emergency rooms as newly insured patients will overrun primary care practices and seek care at hospital ERs. One way to combat the situation is through greater collaboration with medical imaging services. “There needs to (be) open and honest dialogue between the leaders of medical imaging and the leaders of emergency care,” she tells Noordvyk. “We need to work together to understand the needs of our patients and our workforce. We should examine new models of care, together. And we should invite to the table all of the stakeholders.”

And in Part 3 of the series, Dr. Schneider brings the conversation back around to the patient to ensure that whatever solutions are implemented through the collaboration between medical imaging and emergency medicine are focused on what’s best for the patient. “There will be increasing pressure to reduce cost, reduce radiation, improve patient outcomes and increase patient satisfaction,” she says. “Two of these are possible, three difficult, but all four will be a challenge.” Dr. Schneider adds: “Medical imaging is a critical part of patient assessment. In the future, this role will increase as our ability to detect and visualize disease increase.”

Read Noordvyk’s three-part interview with Dr. Schneider on Medical Imaging Talk.