Workflow Orchestration in Teleradiology: Strengths & Shortcomings

Workflow Orchestration in Teleradiology: Strengths & Shortcomings


Introduction to Workflow Orchestration:
Workflow orchestration is crucial for large radiology groups to distribute workflow effectively and fairly across the organization. This approach involves end-to-end management of people, digital workers, systems, and data in a process. Also, when you are a radiology group working globally across different time zones with multiple sites, it becomes a basic requisite to comply with service level agreements (SLAs). In addition, It is imperative that the technology adopted is also integrated at every touchpoint to ensure seamless implementation.
To overcome day to day SLA challenges and optimize existing workflows for better outcome, large and distributed radiology organizations rely on effective workflow orchestration to engage multiple radiologists, from different sub-specialties, at a range of locations, reading for many different facilities. By doing so, they can streamline their workflow management and ensure efficient utilization of resources.
Workflow orchestration plays a big role in how an organization automates processes, integrates enterprise systems, and gains better control and visibility over complex workflows.

What workflow orchestration does:

  • Simplify your existing workflow: There are tools in the industry today which help you coordinate and monitor your processes for smooth execution. By utilizing Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and low-code design, you can easily draw processes, enforce business rules, automate activities, and embed workflows for forms and dashboards directly into your apps. You could upgrade your workflow game with workflow orchestrators
  • Automate processes: Workflow orchestration engines are revolutionizing the way organizations operate by automating complex and repetitive processes. These engines allow for the definition and management of the flow of tasks, data, and events, resulting in improved efficiency and reduced manual work. By connecting multiple systems and automation tools, process automation can optimize complex processes from end to end.
  • Improves process performance: Workflow orchestration tools are essential for organizations seeking to improve their processes. With these tools, companies can gain real-time visibility into the status and progress of their workflows, enabling them to track performance and identify bottlenecks. By making data-driven decisions based on this information, organizations can optimize their processes and drive success. If you are looking to enhance your organization's workflow management, consider implementing a workflow orchestration tool today.

What are the pre-requisites to be looked before we deploy Workflow Orchestration into our workflow:
Mastering workflow orchestration is the key to staying ahead of the ever-evolving landscape of your business operations. Few pre-requisites to be considered are as below:
Understand your existing workflow:
The key to effective workflow orchestration is knowing where to start. To get there, you need to take an unbiased view of your current state. Understanding how your processes work today is the first step in figuring out where to take them next. Encouraging both the clinical and non-clinical team members to participate in the orchestration process from the beginning makes everyone a part of the process, enabling better coordination and teamwork.
Integration of data touchpoints in your workflow:
Easy access to reliable data is key to improving efficiency, productivity, and decision-making. But how do you ensure you have a unified view of your data? The answer lies in a platform that can help you seamlessly orchestrate your processes from end to end. This would also help develop a more streamlined approach
Use the right automation tools in the right places:
Most workflows involve collaboration with people from different departments and organizations. Its important to keep all stakeholders integrated into your internal workflows, including partners, contractors, and customers. Do not let them become an afterthought in your workflow orchestration platform. Remember, the full picture of your workflow includes all stakeholders.
As businesses look to increase efficiency and reduce costs, automation tools have become a popular solution. But, if you dive headfirst into implementing the wrong tool, you risk missing out on the full potential of the technology. To avoid this, its important to have a concrete understanding of your process bottlenecks and the type of work being done there. Make sure the automation tool you are considering is capable of handling that work.
Build your workflows with external stakeholders in mind:
Always conceptualize and plan your workflow with your clients and other stakeholders in mind since they are the ones receiving the outcome of your orchestration. You may also gauge the mindset and briefly discuss with them to understand their perceptions and expectations from this process. This may also give you a flip side view of anything that needs to be included into the orchestration
Challenge the status quo of your workflows:
As regulations, technologies, and business strategies evolve, your processes  should, too. Rather than looking at process optimization as a one-time goal, see processes instead as a work in progress that should be continually monitored for new opportunities to improve.

When can Workflow Orchestration have a downfall?
Some of the scenarios are:

  • When orchestration is integrated into the system without having a complete and detailed analysis of your existing workflow
  • Procuring orchestration tools and adding them onto the process when they do not actually "fit-in" there which leads to nil value output
  • Just having the non-clinical team run the implementation process without clinical champions who buy-in or believe in this concept
  • Not understanding what to monitor or what output to expect
  • Not understanding the various technology bit which goes into integration

Using AI solutions and tools which enable Workflow Orchestration:
Implementing an artificial intelligence (AI) engine to analyze incoming studies and assign exams in the order needed to meet certain operational goals and fulfil SLA parameters as below:

  • Better compliance to turnaround time, ensuring happy clients
  • Ensuring the right radiologists are assigned subspecialty reads
  • Ensuring every radiologist is assigned cases as soon as they login into the workstation
  • Enabling cross-reporting and utilization of radiologists
  • Managing worklists efficiently

Eliminating Cherry Picking:
Eliminating choice for radiologists to pick easy/non-emergency/Higher RVU(Relative value unit) radiology cases to ensure equal distribution and fair work environment becomes a necessity for an ideal teleradiology environment. Having a clinician champion who believes in eliminating the “cherry picking” process and influencing the rest of the clinical team members participate in this process becomes significant.
Rewarding Clinical team members for embracing change:
It becomes a necessity to encourage team members who are geared up to challenge the status quo and adapt to new methodologies to bring in systemic change. Ensuring positive work environment and recognizing team members who embrace these challenges and are part of the solution becomes integral.
Dr.Nisha Varadaraj
Business Head –Telemedicine
Manipal Hospitals Radiology Group