Since 2012, the Department’s Outreach/Imaging Informatics division has provided imaging consultation and delivery of high-quality diagnostic reports to State-operated and private practice entities. A diverse range of imaging-related services executed by the Outreach team has earned it high regard by the external entities who have on-site imaging capability but require timely professional study interpretation and reporting as well as operational services aimed at assessing and optimizing the entire imaging chain.  These wide-ranging services include, but are not limited to: 1) image acquisition process optimization; 2) assessing enterprise-wide imaging workflow; 3) liaising radiologist-to-external clinician communication; 3) supporting outreach-based technologists; 4) aiding accreditation processes; and 5) providing business and quality reports to all healthcare facilities served.

Over six+ years, the division has grown from serving five clients at launch, to nine entities present day. The five State of North Carolina DHHS agencies that launched the division’s external operations in 2012 included: 1) Central Regional Hospital (Butner, NC); 2) Broughton Hospital (Morganton, NC); 3) Cherry Hospital (Goldsboro, NC); 4) Murdock Developmental Center (Butner, NC); and 5) Caswell Developmental Center (Kinston, NC). Two North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) units were added a year later – 1) Central Prison Healthcare Complex (Raleigh, NC); and 2) North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women (NCCIW) – Raleigh, NC.

In recent years, the Outreach/Imaging Informatics division extended its services to Emerge Ortho (formerly Triangle Orthopedic Associates), a large orthopedics network providing comprehensive, patient-centered orthopedic, spine and pain management care at practices statewide. Via the UNC Physicians Network, the Outreach team also provides front line help desk imaging support for Garner Family Practice, Knightdale Family Practice, Clayton Urgent Care and Primary Care, Sanford Specialty Clinic and Chatham Imaging Services of Pittsboro.

Notably, these nine entities act as centralized patient care locations for a much broader list of facilities that provide State-operated and funded human services (DHHS, DPS) to North Carolina residents and private practice care (EmergeOrtho). For example, Central Regional Hospital serves as a central imaging care facility for both hospital employees and from R.J. Blackley Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center (ADATC), one of the State’s three ADATCs providing inpatient treatment, psychiatric stabilization and medical detoxification for individuals affected by drug and substance abuse issues. Emerge Ortho’s imaging network extends to practices in 13 locations across North Carolina.  In the most recent year, our Radiologists interpreted over 27,000 studies for Outreach facilities.  The majority of studies were evenly divided between Computed Radiography (CR / DR) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).  In addition to CR and MRI, Computed Tomography, Ultrasound, and Mammographic studies were interpreted for facilities where such modalities were available.

Radiology Informatics Manager Jay Crawford, DHA, and Outreach Development Analyst Pete Petrin RT (R) have led the Outreach division toward its present-day solid base of State of NC and private clients. They’ve also brought on staff members with a strong understanding of imaging informatics who can help the division be effective across all areas of imaging-related services offered to clients. Business Systems Analyst Tonya Edge, RT(R), CIIP, brings extensive knowledge and skills to the team, demonstrating expert understanding of imaging informatics practice in areas including PACS administration, image management, technologist workflow and radiologist support.

Crawford noted: “It is our group’s mission to provide the highest quality imaging services from the time of acquisition through the delivery of the interpretation. A particular focus on underserved and underrepresented patient populations in State Operated Mental Health and Department of Public Safety Systems supports UNC Healthcare’s mission to improve the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians and others whom we serve.”