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Quality improvement—a core Strategic Radiology value

Strategic Radiology practices place a high priority on continuous quality improvement through a culture of collaboration that supports quality improvement and patient safety in medical imaging. 

Patient Safety Organization (PSO)
Patient Safety Organization

Strategic Radiology operates the first Patient Safety Organization listed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) that is dedicated solely to the improvement of medical imaging through the sharing of data, best practices, and target benchmarks that exceed industry standards:

Turnaround time from completion to final report: 

  • ED studies: =/< 30 minutes  
  • CT stroke: =/< 15 minutes  
  • inpatient studies: =/< 4 hours 
  • outpatient studies: =/< 4 hours, expedited; =/< 8 hours, routine 

MQSA mammography call-back rates:  8% to 12% 
Critical findings documentation in report: 98% 
Critical findings time-to-delivery: 10 min. in > 95% of cases 
Overall patient satisfaction scores: 95% to 99% 

Supporting Radiology Research

Strategic Radiology member groups completed the endowment of an $800,000 RSNA R&E Seed Grant in 2020, setting in motion a series of 20 annual grants awarded by the RSNA's Research & Education Foundation over 20 years to support radiology research and advance the specialty.

Supporting Radiology Research
Twice-annual Quality Forums
Twice-annual Quality Forums

Twice a year, radiologists, practice executives, and employees dedicated to quality-improvement gather at the SR Quality Forums. The conferences showcase radiology-specific quality improvement projects and provide a safe environment for learning and growth. 

Under the direction of Strategic Radiology’s quality leads, the curriculum has put some of our members’ quality personnel on the path to acquiring the coveted CPHQ certification from the International Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality.  

Peer Learning & Improvement Pilot

Peer review is the foundation of many hospital-based radiology quality programs. Five Strategic Radiology practices are working to improve the process by:

  • reducing bias through anonymity
  • achieving 100% subspecialty-focus
  • providing meaningful feedback via standardized forms
  • adding a learning component and reinforcing non-punitive culture
Peer Learning & Improvement Pilot
Improving Diagnostic Accuracy
Improving Diagnostic Accuracy

Strategic Radiology member groups collaborate to develop clinical best practices to assure patients are receiving state-of-the-art care. Seven member groups are participating in a research initiative to explore various methods of communicating incidental findings found on ED imaging studies directly to patients. The project is funded by a grant from the Coverys Community Healthcare Foundation to improve diagnostic accuracy.

Subspecialty Reading Network

Optimal staffing is a challenge for practices of all sizes—even large teleradiology companies struggle to provide subspecialized interpretations where they are needed. Our collaborative environment helps member groups of all sizes to extend the hours and depth of subspecialized coverage for their patients, referring physicians, and hospital partners.

To support member subspecialization, we provide a preferred vendor that adheres to a high level of quality control; and we are building a shared IT infrastructure to promote cross coverage among members.

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Diagnosis: Screening high-risk individuals at appropriate intervals for the appropriate duration using the appropriate technology
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Report: Careful assessment of findings, evidence-based recommendation for next steps: further diagnostic work, watchful waiting, treatment
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Follow-up: Imaging surveillance to assess treatment response and following treatment to watch for recurrence with appropriate imaging tools

Before joining Strategic Radiology, we were engaged in quality improvement, but we didn’t have an overarching quality program. Once we joined, we saw what other groups were doing, and we were inspired to have a dedicated program within our group.

David Phelps, MD
Radiology Associates of North Texas