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The Ancillary Services Environment, Research Paper Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1239

Research Paper

Introduction

The ancillary services environment is complex and heavily integrated into existing healthcare settings. Typically, ancillary services are either diagnostic or therapeutic and are very common in all areas of medical practice. The radiology department of a hospital or clinic provides ancillary diagnostic services by taking x-rays and performing other tests as needed to make definitive diagnoses regarding a variety of conditions. Radiology services are used widely throughout healthcare practice to accomplish many different objectives. For the purposes of this discussion, I interviewed one of the radiology managers of a medium-sized hospital and addressed some of the most important challenges that she faces in her daily role. I also addressed the ever-changing scope of healthcare practice and her perspective regarding these changes and how they will impact her daily practice.

Body

The radiology manager that was interviewed earned her Master of Science in Nursing in 2005 and has been a radiology manager for this hospital since 2008. Prior to this position, she was a nurse manager on a med-surg unit for four years and a staff nurse for five years. During her tenure in radiology, she has witnessed many changes in practice, policy, resources, and even patient populations and noted that ancillary services such as radiology have been challenging under healthcare and Medicare/Medicaid reform. This hospital is county-based; therefore, they provide services to all patients regardless of need and even if they do not have prior health insurance. Therefore, the complexities of her role continue to be focused on billing and administration approximately 50 percent of the time, 25 percent regarding quality control, safety, and improvement, with the remaining 25 percent as a scheduler and team leader.

The interviewee described some of the daily ins and outs of this department. She noted that the department is busy and hectic almost every day of the week and patients arrive with many different concerns and many involve cases of trauma from the emergency department. In her position, she is heavily focused on safety because radiologic services carry some degree of risk which must be mitigated against the benefits of these services (Johnson et.al, 2012). In addition, it is important to recognize the value of quality-based initiatives in this environment as a means of producing effective outcomes for patients (Siewert et.al, 2013). To better accommodate these needs, it is known that “Strategies to mitigate or prevent such risks include ergonomics initiatives for radiologists and technologists, appointment of a radiation safety officer to ensure compliance with radiation dose guidelines and policies, and use of equipment that prevents exposure to body fluids. In addition, there are regulations and guidelines from various government bodies on occupational radiation dose limits, handling of isotopes and chemotherapy agents, contact with patients with airborne infections, and needle stick injuries” (Siewert et.al, 2013, p. 245). These efforts demonstrate the importance of achieving radiologic goals and objectives through safety measures, which is a primary focus of the manager who was interviewed.

The demand for services in a radiology department of this size is significant; therefore, it is expected that this practice will continue to be relevant for the foreseeable future in terms of necessary resources. Performance improvement is a constant concern of the interviewee and she recognizes the role of improving quality-based objectives to achieve the desired outcomes in an effective manner, while also considering the challenges of developing new initiatives to improve quality over time (Kruskal et.al, 2009). With this practice, patient safety must be optimized at all times and a focus on developing new policies and procedures that will accommodate the needs of patients in an effective manner (Kruskal et.al, 2009). These practices encourage the utilization of existing resources more effectively to accomplish the desired objectives (Kruskal et.al, 2009).

The interviewee expressed her concerns regarding healthcare reform and what it might lead to in her department. She suspects that lower reimbursement fees are inevitable for radiologic services; therefore, she must work with the billing group to determine how to minimize the impact of this practice on the overall ability of her department to continue to provide high quality services to all patients. This is a critical component of her practice objectives and requires her input and attention to initiate process changes and other methods as required. The value of radiologic services should not be reduced because of healthcare reform initiatives because these ancillary services remain critical to the health and wellbeing of millions of people (Carlos et.al, 2011). Therefore, these practice methods must continue to be effective in achieving diagnostic objectives (Carlos et.al, 2011). The interviewee noted that imaging and other diagnostic tools are the cornerstone of healthcare practice and if their importance is minimized, there are likely to be serious consequences.

Integrating research-based knowledge and information from the interview provides an important summary of the two perspectives and where the differences lie. The following table will summarize these two objectives more clearly.

Prior Research Radiology Manager Interview
Radiologic services emphasize quality and optimal performance in all areas of practice to achieve the required diagnostic objectives (Siewert et.al, 2013) Quality and performance are critical components of the radiologic unit and demonstrate the commitment to providing high quality and accurate diagnostic services for all patients, regardless of need
Performance improvement objectives are critical to the success of radiology departments and should be optimized and evaluated regularly to make improvements as needed (Kruskal et.al, 2009) The nurse manager noted that her team is required to meet performance improvement objectives through annual evaluations and other initiatives
The continued success of radiology departments is contingent upon resource allocation and availability (Carlos et.al, 2011) In spite of challenges to the status quo, radiologic services remain a critical priority within the healthcare environment where the nurse manager is employed
Healthcare reform presents many challenges to individual patients and practitioners in order to achieve the desired treatment and diagnostic results (Carlos et.al, 2011) The nurse manager is currently in regular discussions with other management teams regarding new healthcare reform laws to determine how they will impact daily practice and the type of patients that will be see at the facility

Conclusion

There is a continuous demand for radiology services of all types in most healthcare organizations. As diagnostic tools improve and expand their prevalence in healthcare practice, it is important to recognize how these services play a critical role in shaping outcomes for patients. The interview with the radiology manager was very useful in addressing some of the most important areas of modern healthcare practice that impact patient care and treatment in different ways. This interview shed some light on the current state of radiology in a county hospital and where it is headed in the era of healthcare reform. These efforts demonstrate a capacity to better understand the different dimensions of care and treatment as they support radiologic services in modern healthcare systems.

References

Carlos, R.C., Sadigh, G., and Kelly, A.M. (2011). Women’s health, accountable care organizations, and radiology practice: maximizing radiology’s value under health care reform. American Journal of Roentgenology, 196(2), 257-258.

Johnson, C.D., Miranda, R., Osborn, H.H., Miller, J.M., Prescott, S.L., Aakre, K.T., Krecke, K.N., and Broderick, D.F. (2012). Designing a safer radiology department. Health Care Policy and Quality, 198(2), 398-404.

Kruskal, J.B., Anderson, S., Yam, C.S., and Sosna, J. (2009). Strategies for establishing a comprehensive quality and performance improvement program in a radiology department. RadioGraphics, 29, 315-329.

Siewert, B., Brook, O.R., Mullins, M.M., Eisenberg, R.L., and Kruskal, J.B. (2013). Practice policy and quality initiatives: strategies for optimizing staff safety in a radiology department. RadioGraphics, 33, 245-261.

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