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Interventional labs must evolve to meet increasing demand, improve outcomes and deliver value


By Ronald Tabaksblat, Business Leader Image Guided Therapy Systems, Philips

Cost-pressure in healthcare systems, together with the power of technology and demands of informed patients are transforming the way care should be delivered in interventional labs across the world. As the number and complexity of interventional procedures continues to grow, these trends provide healthcare managers with a significant challenge – how to meet the evolving needs of patients and physicians while ensuring the financial health of the hospital?

A growing and aging population, and increased rates of chronic and lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and some cardiovascular diseases and cancers, have put hospital managers under pressure to ensure delivery of improved outcomes to an increasing number of patients for less money. At the same time, a constantly changing reimbursement environment means healthcare services and delivery must continuously adapt. Take the recent US presidential elections; as a result hospital managers and healthcare systems must now plan for unknown changes to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act by a newly elected President.

 

Significant advances in technology, and in image-guided therapy, have rapidly changed the face of clinical practice. Ten years ago interventional oncology was still in its infancy, now it is standard practice for a great number of patients. The emergence of hybrid suites has brought significant benefits to patients and practitioners, allowing multidisciplinary teams to execute numerous clinical solutions in one convenient and practical setting. 

Using intelligence to improve care

Societal advances in technology have also changed patient and physician expectations. As a result of the widespread availability of smart phones and smart/wearable technology, patients and physicians have become used to having intuitive, interactive technology that brings information to their fingertips. Patients and physicians experience immediacy, access and flexibility from the technology in their homes and cars, and expect the same in a clinical setting. Patients want discussions with their doctor to be supported by images, scans and lab results and health records to be electronic and available on-demand, while physicians expect the technology they use to evolve to match the procedure. In a competitive hospital environment the physician and patient experiences are paramount.


Patients are also taking greater control over their healthcare decision-making, and services must be redesigned to better reflect patient needs and preferences. Data show that patients who engage in their own health have better outcomes, and in response healthcare systems around the world have strengthened the role of patients in their own care. It will be interesting to see how this trend continues to evolve and influence the interventional setting.

 

These key trends and patient, physician and hospital manager needs are universally true, although the specifics may differ in each in country. The decisions made by hospital managers to meet these needs are strongly influenced by financial incentives, and the sustainability of the hospital depends on them finding a compromise between what is best for the patient and what is best for the financial health of the institution.

 

So, in a challenging healthcare landscape how can hospital managers ensure interventional labs are future-proofed to match the growth in number and increasing diversity of procedures?

The rapid evolution of technology, coupled with a changeable healthcare landscape, makes it increasingly difficult for hospital managers to accurately forecast the future procedure mix. Consider the procedures being carried out in a cath lab ten years ago with those being conducted today; could the rapid adoption of TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) have been predicted? How about the pressure on PCIs (Percutaneous Coronary Interventions) due to new insights that medical therapy is a better option for certain classes of patients?

 

As such, managers must ensure interventional labs are flexible and have the capacity to evolve as trends, technology, requirements and governments change. They must be efficient, to manage a large number of patients with consistently good outcomes. The systems within the lab should be standardized and easy-to-use, making full use of the latest image guided therapy technology to deliver intuitive, innovative solutions to patients in the treatment room. And finally, these systems should be seamlessly integrated, to make image guided therapy simpler, faster and deliver better; improving lab performance and care allows more patients to be seen and treated. 

Hospital managers will need maximum flexibility and efficiency from technology, to ensure the investment they make today is still valuable in years to come and able to address the needs of more patients than ever before.

Ronald Tabaksblat

Senior Vice President and Business Leader of Image Guided Therapy Systems

Ronald Tabaksblat is Senior Vice President and Business Leader of Image Guided Therapy Systems at Philips. He leads teams in Best, in the Netherlands, and India that deliver the industry’s leading interventional imaging solutions. Until 2012 Ronald was responsible for leading the Diagnostic X-Ray business, also within Philips Imaging Systems. From 2007 to 2011 Ronald led the Cardiology Informatics business overseeing the development of solutions that distribute cardiology images and information, enable clinical reporting and workflow throughout the cardiac care cycle, and complement and interface to the Electronic Medical Record.

 

Follow Ronald Tabaksblat on: LinkedIn and Twitter.

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