How to Make the Case for a New POCUS Workflow
August 02, 2022
The Role of POCUS Workflow
Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) devices have remarkably improved patient care across healthcare by spreading portable and efficient diagnostics to settings like emergency medicine, critical care, and internal medicine. But physicians who have integrated POCUS into clinical care face a new challenge — cumbersome image entry and storage workflows designed for compliance over speed and simplicity, or worse, not designed with any optimizations in mind at all.
Moving to a better POCUS workflow system benefits a remarkable number of stakeholders including IT, program directors, residents, billing administrators, and hospital administrators—not to mention all the clinicians who perform POCUS exams on a regular basis.
Here are a few of the typical stakeholders involved in a POCUS program, according to this article in POCUS Journal:
- Clinical Operations team: clinicians employed to maintain and improve the hospital department’s daily functions (this group will be the most important stakeholder for POCUS program improvements)
- Biomed team: responsible for the upkeep of point-of-care ultrasound devices
- Information Systems & Technology (IS&T) team: ensures connectivity for POCUS devices and the transmission and storage of exam information
- EHR team: ensures that procedure notes are created in accordance with specific POCUS codes and billing guidelines (this team can be useful for automating certain process tasks)
- Billing team: handles billing and reimbursement for medical procedures
But to benefit these groups, physicians need to inspire them toward POCUS program improvements. Here are several ways to bring your colleagues along with you, so that you can make your POCUS ecosystem a breeze to use.
1. Gather Data to Demonstrate Success
If you are able, gather data on the impacts that your POCUS program is having on your institution and care for patients. Try your best to answer the core question: “Why does POCUS deserve a place in my department or clinic?”
Every professional has competing priorities — for this reason, start by focusing your colleagues on why POCUS makes a strategic impact on your medical practice. Everybody likes to celebrate success. If you can highlight that the first investment your institution has made in POCUS is paying off, then there’s a logical case for those around you to consider improving its capabilities.
You can help your institution understand the importance of point-of-care ultrasound by simply gathering data on:
- The number of diagnostic ultrasound studies your institution performs per year
- Changes in aggregated diagnostic outcomes at your institution before and after adopting POCUS
Here’s an article about how to go about demonstrating POCUS return on investment, and a scholarly article published in Critical Care on POCUS’s impacts on patient outcomes. Once you have these details, it will be easier to advocate for increased POCUS usage. It also keeps the conversation centered around patient care.
2. Show Proof of POCUS Workflow Hindrance
Gather data on the negative impact your POCUS workflow is creating. This could mean measuring the number of hours that you and your colleagues spend completing POCUS exams. Or illustrating your POCUS programs “envisioned” versus “reality” for users in completing their documentation, QA, and billing steps. For example, what does it take to upload images to PACS and EMR? Share anything that helps others clearly see the divide between the “pain” you must endure and the “joy” that an improved POCUS workflow could bring to your institution.
3. Forecast How Stakeholders Could Benefit
What do doctors, patients, and other stakeholders “get” out of POCUS usage and a well-designed workflow? For demonstrating potential benefits, it will be key to first understand what motivates them in their roles at your healthcare institution—it could be more comprehensive patient documentation, increased revenue capture, strengthened technology security and/or proof of compliance, improved patient care, or another aspect that your current POCUS workflow system is unable to realize. Learn what matters to them and why; then connect why you think a better POCUS workflow will create a win-win solution.
4. Learn and Share Relevant Terminology
It’s important to know the terminology that will be key to moving dialogue forward. To educate administrators and IT departments on the benefits of POCUS and workflow improvement, it may be good to start by breaking down key terms into their most simplistic definitions. Connect those key terms to why they matter in POCUS.
For this reason, read up on technology and administrative terms that relate to POCUS program implementation. Here’s a good article for IT terminology, as an example. Also, keep in mind that not everyone will understand the terminology that medical professionals use. Keep conversations at a simplified level.
Once all groups are understanding each other, the conversations around POCUS improvements should move forward more easily. You can begin to unearth some of the important nuances together with trust and empathy. Tie everything back to providing improved patient care and your hospital’s unique mission.
Making the Business Case for POCUS Workflow Improvement
To make the business case for greater POCUS adoption and workflow improvements, move your dialogue with stakeholders from sharing pain points to potential actions your institution could take. Keep the conversation simple, open-minded, and actionable. What do they want to know that could aid their decision-making? Address their motivations to illustrate a win-win scenario for all. If this means creating talking points for conversation or a presentation to make your case, prepare ahead of time to ensure you are checking all the necessary boxes.
In addition, it is always good to have a champion from another department. Who in your institution would make a good advocate for change on your behalf? Sometimes this can be the IT leader. Or a leader in the administrative office or billing department. Whatever the case, it’s important to remember that any change within an organization demands a group effort to acquire the investment needed for change.
Taking the First Leap
For more advice on how to make the case for POCUS program improvements at your healthcare institution, connect with one of our in-house experts to have a conversation.
To learn more about Exo Works™, our POCUS workflow solution that streamlines the documentation, QA, and billing aspects of ultrasound exams, visit our webpage here. Or see it in action by scheduling a demo here.
Exo is a health information and devices company modernizing medical imaging starting with making ultrasound simple and affordable for all. Exo just released Exo Works™, an intelligent and intuitive point-of-care ultrasound workflow solution that lets medical practitioners document exams in seconds and easily manage QA from anywhere. Learn more about Exo Works.