Established in 1970, Sovah Health – Martinsville resides in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains caring for not only the people of Martinsville, Virginia but those of surrounding locales as well. The nearby Martinsville Speedway has an audience capacity of 60,000 and conducts major race events throughout the year.
The full-service, acute care hospital is licensed for 220 beds and provides medical services such as behavioral health, cancer care, orthopedics, surgical services, rehabilitation, and more.
The hospital has received recognition from the American College of Cardiology (ACC), and the Commission on Cancer (CoC) among others, for demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients.
After experiencing growth and the accompanying need for a more capable method of imaging storage, Martinsville discovered Novarad’s NovaPACS software. Martinsville also utilizes Novarad’s NovaDose radiation dose management software.
“I was the decision-maker originally, and I liked Novarad,” said Teresa Merricks, Director of Radiology with Martinsville. “They were very responsive throughout the process.”
While necessity pushed Martinsville to search for their new software vendor, there were other factors that truly sealed the decision. Among them, Martinsville was concerned with configurability, support, and clear pricing.
According to research from the University of Groningen (UMCG)i in the Netherlands, workstation customization plays a critical role in enabling radiologists to perform their jobs with maximum efficiency and satisfaction. A more efficient, comfortable radiology department has a direct impact on turnaround times, overall cost reduction, and even helping a hospital reduce the length of patient stays.
“The radiologists actually enjoy using this PACS,” said Nick Keatts, Imaging Network Director with Martinsville. “They’ve configured everything they want to be exactly how they want it, and that’s what they like most.”
To help illustrate his point, Keatts described his experience with software from a modality vendor that lacked much of the user-friendly features exemplified by NovaPACS. Many times, it is only through experience with a tool that doesn’t entirely fulfill its purpose that you come to realize your true needs.
According to Keatts, the level of service received and the relationship with the company have also played an important role in the continued ease of Novarad’s software.
“I have a great relationship with Novarad,” Keatts said. “If you call support, you speak to someone right then and there, and they do not hang up the phone until your problem is resolved. That’s something a lot of companies should model, because it lets the customer know that the problem will really be fixed.”
Merricks echoed Keatts’ sentiment, and further clarified that the hospital’s radiologists in particular have benefitted from a high standard of service.
“I’ve always known who to call if I needed something,” said Merricks. “It’s been very, very seldom that we have had any issues with response time. What the radiologists like is that they can call, if they choose to, and talk to technical support themselves. I’d say they’re very satisfied with it.”
U.S.-based customer support has also proved to be an important time saver. Because of the advanced medical terms that must often be used in hospital support, having the conversation with a non-native English speaker can pose a problem when attempting to explain issues. “We’re in the south, too, so that’s another barrier,” Merricks explained. “People often have a difficult time picking up on our dialect and understanding some of the words we say.”
The immediate nature of the support representatives also places employees at ease and speeds resolution of any issues.
“When an employee calls technical support and there’s a language barrier, it can make the call very difficult,” Keatts added. “When you get a U.S.-based customer service agent, it’s a sigh of relief for a lot of people to know that they can easily understand each other and get the problem resolved that much quicker.”
Healthcare is infamous for cost overruns and a plethora of budgetary problems. One of the most important deciding factors when it comes to software investments, therefore, has to be the total cost of ownership (TCO). In the whitepaper Enterprise Imaging – Total Cost of Ownership, research firm Frost & Sullivan placed average cost overruns as exceeding nearly 25 percent for typical EHR vendor implementations. This kind of unpredictability has spawned a great interest in procuring upfront pricing from vendors particularly in regards to software contracts. With Novarad, however, Merricks explained that the cost has been consistent and comprehensible.
“Our upgrades and support come with the product, so to speak,” Merricks said. “When I add a modality to the contract, we know that there’s going to be an increase and we get that information prior.” It can be daunting to know and understand the costs and return on investment of any large purchase, but in healthcare especially, the knowledge can provide a peace of mind.
Martinsville has further plans to improve operations in the coming months and years, including greater increases in ease of image delivery, report sharing, resource sustainability, and more. The hospital’s experience with Novarad software has helped to improve various functions and pave the way to implement further positive changes.
i Jorritsma, 2016. Human-computer interaction in radiology. Aula Academiegebouw Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
ii Betbeze, 2017. Radiology Sinking Your Bottom Line? Try These 3 Fixes. Health Leaders Media.
iii Frost & Sullivan, 2018. Enterprise Imaging – Total Cost of Ownership: Bottom Line Considerations When Choosing an Enterprise Imaging Vendor. Frost & Sullivan