Advantages of an online Questionnaire for DXA-based bone density reporting

BoneStation is an enterprise class bone density reporting solution.  It makes bone densitometry practices more productive by streamlining the workflow of technologists, physicians and administrators.

The assessment for osteoporosis and fracture risk became more complicated when FRAX was introduced about ten years ago.  In addition to the DXA measurements, the patient’s medical history had to be considered when interpreting bone density scans.

FRAX is built into BoneStation’s web-based interface.  When using BoneStation, the DXA machine’s questionnaire is not used.  Instead BoneStation’s online questionnaire is used and BoneStation calculates a FRAX score.

This provides many advantages over using the DXA for FRAX.

  • Technologists and physicians can view and/or modify the questionnaire from anywhere as long as they have access to BoneStation.
  • The FRAX score appears on the report along with the indicated risk factors (from the questionnaire).
  • The questionnaire is readily available to the reading physician during review.  The reading physician can even modify the questionnaire.  The FRAX score generated by BoneStation will be adjusted.  There is no need to have the technologist modify the questionnaire at the DXA and regenerate the FRAX score.
  • Questionnaire’s are saved with each bone density report and can be recalled at any later time.
  • BoneStation has the ability to provide a warning if a questionnaire has not been filled out for a patient.

The workflow for questionnaires is straight-forward in BoneStation.

  • The technologist typically fills out the questionnaire (but this is not always the case).  The questionnaire is stored in a Questionnaire Queue and assigned to the scans when they are transmitted to BoneStation.
  • During review, the reading physician has access to the questionnaire and can even modify answers on the questionnaire.
  • When the reading physician finalizes the study, the questionnaire is saved in BoneStation along with the report.
  • Both the report and questionnaire are available to be recalled at a later time.

Click here for more about bone density imaging workflow.

Next time the patient has a bone density test, answers from the prior questionnaire pre-populate the new questionnaire that is used for the visit.

BoneStation includes a standard questionnaire, which is sufficient for FRAX.  Questionnaires may be customized for a bone density practice.

An online questionnaire has an additional advantage in research environments.  With all data being stored centrally in BoneStation, it is easy to perform data mining.

The Cloud and Bone Density Reporting

The current trend in software is “The Cloud“.  Maybe you’ve heard of it?  What does it mean for bone density providers?  In this posting, we’ll provide an overview of the cloud.  Future postings will assume this very basic understanding of The Cloud.

In short, The Cloud reflects storing of data on the Internet.  Some examples are online banking and email (such as gmail).  In these cases, the checking and savings account info and email may not reside on your PC.  Instead, the data is on a “server” somewhere out on the internet (“The Cloud”).

Access to data is typically provided through an application that is usually a web browser, but not always.  For example, banks typically provide a web based application to log in and manage checking and savings accounts.  Google provides email access through http://www.gmail.com.  You may also access gmail through an email client, such as Thunderbird or Outlook.  Mobile access to your email is via a phone app.

In understanding cloud-based computing, it may be useful to contrast it with the old way of doing things – desktop computing.  With desktop applications, one worked in a more isolated manner, on a PC.  Data is stored in files on the PC’s hard drive.  While it is possible to share and collaborate with others, it requires more work than cloud based applications.

In terms of business applications, including bone density practices, cloud based applications are likely to be classified as “enterprise class” applications.  Enterprise class applications are characterized by making entire teams work better and more efficiently.

  • Information is more easily shared among team members
  • A workflow can be instituted which improves team efficiency and reduces errors
  • Data is robust, it is backed up

The next few blog postings will highlight some benefits and touch upon how Cardea Technology‘s BoneStation realizes the benefits of the cloud via as an enterprise class application.