Vascular laboratories are a critical component of patient care for full-service hospitals. Within vascular labs, Registered Vascular Technologists (RVTs) perform noninvasive vascular ultrasound exams for screening, diagnostic, and monitoring purposes. These exams include but are not limited to dialysis access evaluation, peripheral venous ultrasound, abdominal aortic aneurysm screening, and renal artery ultrasound.
Although hospitals have ultrasound imaging equipment, not all have a dedicated vascular lab. In some cases, the hospital administration may choose to make do with existing equipment and personnel; in others, they may decide to outsource vascular lab services. Another option is to contract with a third-party provider that can offer vascular lab services within the hospital, specifically within the vascular surgery department. This has various benefits for the vascular surgeons, the RVTs, the patients, and the hospital itself.
The vascular surgery department of any hospital is busy with diagnosis, treatment, and surgical intervention for various vascular conditions ranging from atherosclerosis to aneurysms and more. Vascular ultrasound exams are crucial for vascular surgeons to make these decisions. Vascular ultrasounds are quick and noninvasive and can help with diagnosis, determine if surgical intervention is necessary, or determine where a surgical procedure should occur (such as an arteriovenous fistula). When vascular ultrasound exams occur in a separate department or even offsite, this can delay results and lead to a disconnect between the RVTs performing the exams and the surgeons reviewing them.
Although the interaction between the RVTs and vascular surgeons may not be considered necessary, it can help facilitate a more integrated and communicative work environment for all parties involved in patient vascular care. In addition, RVTs and vascular surgeons can review results together and in a more immediate manner than if the exams were performed outside the department.
“We have the highest regard for the vascular lab team…The RVTs are very knowledgeable and highly skilled. They all always go the extra mile for the patient! Communication between the vascular clinic and lab is crucial, and we are blessed to have such an efficient team!” Chad Ith, PA-C, Vascular Surgery
The Registered Vascular Technologists performing the vascular ultrasound exams also benefit from being housed in the vascular surgery department. The RVTs can interact with vascular surgeons making diagnostic and surgical decisions based on their exam results. In addition, they can communicate and review results together in a collegiate manner while serving the same patients. In addition, the RVTs can see the results of their work by performing vascular exams in the same department where patient treatment decisions are taking place.
“The hospital staff and doctors treat us very well, and we are included in staff activities and celebrations. We work for a group of amazing Vascular Surgeons and a Physician Assistant that are approachable and help us out in any way they can.” – Marilee Pickles, RVT
The integrated workplace environment created by housing a vascular lab within the vascular surgery department also benefits the patients. It results in a more seamless overall diagnostic and treatment experience for the patient. Patients do not need to go to a separate or offsite location for their vascular ultrasound exams. Their vascular surgeon knows the vascular technologist performing their exam and vice versa. Patients can see the same physicians and technologists in the same place if they need more than one exam or consultation. In addition, patients can expect quicker results with onsite vascular labs. These factors result in an improved patient experience overall.
Finally, the hospital benefits from having a vascular lab housed within its vascular surgery department. The hospital also does this when the surgeons, RVTs, and patients benefit. This arrangement is also more efficient as it guarantees fast results in a collaborative environment.
Vascular labs provide critical services to hospitals and their vascular surgery departments. Housing vascular labs within the vascular surgery departments can improve efficiency, collaboration, and patient care. Hospitals can benefit from having a dedicated vascular lab, but it’s not always possible for the hospitals to set up and run the labs themselves.
This is where companies like Mint Medical come in. By contracting with a third-party provider who can run the vascular labs, hospitals benefit by having a lab in-house without worrying about staffing, training, or accreditation. Mint Medical provides all these services along with the latest technology to keep up with the demand of a busy vascular surgery department. For more information on the benefits and services, Mint Medical can provide, visit our Partners page.
Guest Contributor: Jordan Galerkin