‘Ticket to ride’ helps patient transition-of-care from ED to radiology

"Ticket to Ride” is a song from the Beatles’ 1965 Help! album. It’s also the most important piece of information that accompanies a Hallmark Health System patient seen in emergency and being sent for X-ray, CT scan or other imaging services. A similar system is already in use for inpatients who need radiology or imaging studies.scaug3

“It is literally a ‘ticket to ride,’” said Karen Kelleher, RTR, system director of imaging services. “It’s the intake sheet that is completed when a patient comes into one of our EDs. It contains the order for the imaging study with the ED physician’s sign-off plus important clinical information about the patient’s status. Patient transport staff can’t move a patient from the ED to the imaging areas without it.”

Having more detailed information about the patient’s condition helps radiologic technologists and radiologists provide better and safer care. For example, technologists can take additional precautions if they know ahead of time that a patient coming for a test is at risk for a fall or could faint when standing up. If a radiologist knows that an order for a hand X-ray involves the small finger of the left hand and is the result of a home-improvement accident, imaging studies can be more accurate and can lead to a more precise diagnosis. The system also has practical benefits. “There are far fewer calls back and forth between imaging and the ED to gather or clarify information,” said Kelleher.

Rick Westhaver, MSN, RN, system director of emergency services, said “all transitions of care – even moving a patient from one area of the hospital to another – are important for patient safety, as well as for improved quality and efficiency. The ED/radiology ‘ticket to ride’ is one example of how increased communication, by providing additional clinical information, can result in better care.”


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