Health knows no bounds

Future of Radiology through Philips Partnership

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Learn about the collaboration between the UVM Health Network and Philips as their leaders discuss the future of radiology and how Philips partners through trust, transparency and caring.

Building a seamless diagnostic center in Vermont


At the University of Vermont Medical (UVM) Health Network the radiology department is evolving to embrace a new model of care delivery to support population health in Vermont.


Vermont is expanding its alternative payment model[1] to reach 70% of insured Vermonters by 2022. As a network comprising of six hospitals in Vermont and New York, UVM Health is working to ensure that patients get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.


 “Population health and our ability to succeed in population health is going to be based on our ability to look at quality and patient experience and cost… we have to balance all three of those things in order to get to a good end point in population health where we're seeing good patient outcomes,” says Kristen Destigter, Health care service leader of radiology at UVM Health Network.


The future of diagnostics: networked, seamless


The transition from fee-for-volume to value-based care brings with it new challenges. Demand for diagnostic imaging is increasing, and so are the number of imaging studies being conducted: radiologists at the UVM Health Network used to have 30 images per study, now they are viewing more than 3000 images[1]. There is also more complexity involved in caring for extremely sick patients and more change due to new technologies and an ever increasing amount of data in radiology.


“The challenge right now is to figure out what to do with all of that data, how to analyze it and then how to make changes in the healthcare algorithm so that we're able to improve the health of a population at a lower cost,” says Dr. Destigter.


In a network of hospitals, there are multiple systems and multiple stakeholders. In 2017, UVM Health Network consolidated its affiliate radiology departments into one centralized department, where technology plays a critical role in breaking down systematic barriers and delivering a seamless experience, not just in the radiology department, but across the entire network.


“The patient expects an integrated health care solution,” says Dr.Destigter. “They expect to be able to come to a facility close to home, and get their diagnostic testing, and get fully transparent communication about the findings. Increasingly, they'll expect to have predictive outcomes, so that they'll know what the next steps are [on their healthcare journey], relative to what the findings are. The patient of the future is going to expect to participate in the next steps, and the solutions.”

Standardized diagnostic care


Today, radiologists and other physicians at UVM Health Network use advanced imaging technology to collaborate in real time: they can share images, discuss patient abnormalities, possible diagnoses and the recommended treatment pathways. Everything is standardized to reduce variability and to reduce the likelihood of errors, enabling a confident diagnosis.


“The providers work with the radiologist in a shared management system to determine what the next best steps are for our patients, and in so doing, they are then able to measure outcomes and to look at the data to evaluate it, to determine what needs to be changed, to makes those changes, and then to follow through and make that a continuous process of learning,” says Dr.Destigter.


The next step for UVM Health Network is to strengthen its diagnostic capability by bringing together diagnostic images from across the network. By extending its electronic health record (EHR) to the whole network -- via a vendor neutral archive where images can be shared seamlessly -- they will be able to share not just radiology images, but images from pathology, surgery or dermatology. All images will look and feel the same for the radiologist who interprets them.


 “In an ideal world, how we practice medicine, the little details, will be anonymous to all of the stakeholders in the healthcare system,” Dr.Destigter adds. “It shouldn’t matter where diagnostic images are in the system.”


Beyond just technology


New technology underpins the move to a new model of health care delivery in Vermont and UVM Health Network has worked with Philips for many years to enable this transition, most recently announcing a 10-year long-term strategic partnership. This partnership includes Philips solutions like imaging systems, ultrasound, patient monitoring, clinical informatics, and range of clinical and business consulting services, which supports clinical care and its goal to improve population health in Vermont. But it goes beyond just technology, to the overarching goal of delivering quality care more efficiently while contributing to predictability in costs.


“The more that we can take the friction out of the healthcare system, the more likely we are going to be able to meet the triple aim: reduce costs, improve the patient experience, improve access, drive quality and get really good outcomes,” says Dr.Destigter.


Being able to collaborate on new diagnostic innovations – effectively circling back to Philips with feedback during the development process – has led to better technology, but also a lasting partnership built on trust, collaboration, resilience and learning.


“Ï think Philips understands that the implementation of imaging systems is not just about technology. It’s about the relationship and the processes you build around the technology and what the technology can do. And they understand that there is a patient on the other side of that machine, which is pretty rare,” adds Dr.Destigter. “We’re able to offer the patients we care for in our community the best possible care, the best cutting edge care. And they don’t have to travel to get that – it is right here in Vermont.

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1 Washington Post, ‘After single payer failed, Vermont embarks on a big health care experiment’

2 Interview conducted with Kristen Destigter, Health care service leader of radiology, UVM Health Network

"The challenge right now is going to be to figure out what to do with all of that data, how to analyze it and then how to make changes in the healthcare algorithm so that we're able to improve the health of a population at a lower cost."


Kristen Destigter

Healthcare service leader of radiology for the University of Vermont Health Network

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