Stop needless delays with diagnostic tests

Catch mistakes early

If a physician mistakenly orders a CT scan with contrast when it needs to be done without contrast, is this error corrected before the patient arrives?

Previously, these mistakes were discovered only on the day of the exam, causing delayed care and dissatisfied patients, reports Mike Horton, MHA, manager of the central scheduling department at Hackensack (NJ) University Medical Center.

To address this, Horton gave his schedulers telephone numbers to reach supervisors of clinical areas directly. This way, the schedulers can clear up potential problems with a patient’s prescription right away. “Sometimes medicine may appear black and white, but in real life, it’s never that simple,” says Horton. “Each patient has their own unique circumstances that have the potential for altering exam protocol.”

Horton tells his staff to be on the lookout for specific keywords such as “tumor,” “mass,” or “infection,” as these types of diagnoses have the ability to modify how an exam is performed.

Resolving issues at the point of scheduling improves patient satisfaction, enhances clinical outcomes, and ultimately strengthens the reputation and performance of the medical center, according to Horton

“We empowered the staff to think on their feet. If they think it sounds like a vascular study, they call vascular,” says Horton. “It is better to put a little bit of work into a phone call upfront, than a lot of work trying to get a new script on the day of the exam.”