Email notification combined with off site signing substantially reduces resident approval to faculty verification time.
ABSTRACT Attending radiologist signature time (AST) is a variable and modifiable component of overall report turnaround time. Delays in finalized reports have potential to undermine radiologists' value as consultants and adversely affect patient care. This study was performed to evaluate the impact of notebook computer distribution and daily automated e-mail notification on reducing AST.
Two simultaneous interventions were initiated in the authors' radiology department in February 2010. These included the distribution of a notebook computer with preloaded software for each attending radiologist to sign radiology reports and daily automated e-mail notifications for unsigned reports. The digital dictation system archive and the radiology information system were queried for all radiology reports produced from January 2009 through August 2010. The time between resident approval and attending radiologist signature before and after the intervention was analyzed. Potential unintended "side effects" of the intervention were also studied.
Resident-authored reports were signed, on average, 2.53 hours sooner after the intervention. This represented a highly significant (P = .003) decrease in AST with all else held equal. Postintervention reports were authored by residents at the same rate (about 70%). An unintended "side effect" was that attending radiologists were less likely to make changes to resident-authored reports after the intervention.
E-mail notification combined with offsite signing can reduce AST substantially. Notebook computers with preloaded software streamline the process of accessing, editing, and signing reports. The observed decrease in AST reflects a positive change in the timeliness of report signature.
- SourceAvailable from: Ethan Fener[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine whether total quality management techniques could be used to speed radiologists' performance on the task of signing reports. Total quality management represents a group of tools that can be used to improve the functioning of complex processes in the workplace. The steps involved in our total quality management project were as follows: (1) commit to improving radiologists' performance, (2) commission an interdisciplinary study team, (3) propose hypotheses for the causes of signing delays, (4) identify the key issues constraining performance (Pareto analysis), (5) intervene to correct systematic problems in a test system, (6) evaluate the results of intervention on radiologists' report signing performance, and (7) hold the gains achieved by the intervention. An interdisciplinary study team identified five key obstacles to prompt signing of reports: (1) radiologists' absence from the department when reports were available for signing (e.g., nights and weekends), (2) dysfunctional hand-off between transcriptionist and radiologist, (3) requirement that a fellow or resident sign before a staff radiologist, (4) lack of a system for signing by proxy (if primary radiologist is away), (5) perceived lack of impact of signed report on clinical decision making. Interventions included (1) providing home computer terminals, (2) implementing a buddy system for proxy signing, (3) eliminating the requirement for a signature from a fellow or resident, (4) teaming groups of radiologists with specific transcriptionists, and (5) streamlining transcription service. When these enhancements were used in a test system, the mean time required to sign reports decreased 59% from 26.0 +/- 8.4 hr (mean +/- standard error) in the baseline period to 10.6 +/- 2.9 hr (in the enhanced period, p = .05). We conclude that total quality management methods can accelerate radiologists' signing of reports.American Journal of Roentgenology 05/1994; 162(4):775-81. · 2.90 Impact Factor