A collaboration between a leading outpatient imaging practice and an innovator in radiology IT is expanding after its pilot program demonstrated positive impacts for patients in parts of New Jersey.

By equipping a professional care coordinator with an automated navigation platform from Within Health, Princeton Radiology is boosting patient compliance with follow-up imaging after radiologists identify possible risks of cancer or other conditions that have better outcomes with early diagnosis.

The RadNav platform from Within Health empowers imaging providers to improve patient retention by leveraging AI/ML, behavioral science, and intelligent workflows. Combining the RadNav platform with patient-communication content and workflow processes that Princeton Radiology designed to support the care coordinator, the initiative began with a focus on patients recommended for routine breast MRI in addition to annual mammograms, due to elevated breast cancer risk factors or other clinically relevant concerns.

After early successes with a three-month pilot test, Princeton Radiology has expanded the program. It now includes radiologist reports that recommend breast ultrasound for patients who benefit from additional monitoring for early signs of breast cancer, or chest CT scans for patients at risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, or other conditions affecting the thoracic anatomy.

“RadNav is designed to communicate with patients automatically about the studies they need, through text messages or emails,” says Adam Kirell, CEO of Within Health. “Often, that’s all it takes for the recipients to promptly schedule their exams.”

However, Jonathan Lebowitz, MD, president of Princeton Radiology, noted that for a variety of reasons patients sometimes miss or overlook electronic messages from healthcare providers, or underestimate their importance.

“That’s where the clinical knowledge and interpersonal communication skills of our Patient Care Coordinator come in,” says Lebowitz. “Princeton Radiology’s emphasis on the human side of medicine has truly synergized with the ability of RadNav to automatically identify patients at risk of missing care. This is a new initiative, but we have already seen scores of patients schedule appointments after our Care Coordinator calls and explains why the follow-up exams are necessary.”

While Princeton Radiology continues to work on gathering a base of historical data that will allow a full statistical analysis of the new program’s success, the early directional indicators are promising.

“We can already see that, by the end of the year, this initiative will have positively impacted hundreds if not thousands of patients who, without this proactive outreach, would be in jeopardy of delaying or missing important diagnostic care,” says Lebowitz. “The appreciation of the patients who have already benefitted, not to mention their referring physicians—has been gratifying to see.”