Email Notification Combined with Off Site Signing Substantially Reduces Resident Approval to Faculty Verification Time

Department of Radiology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, 32610, USA.
Academic radiology (Impact Factor: 1.75). 03/2011; 18(6):774-81. DOI: 10.1016/j.acra.2011.01.001
Source: PubMed


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.

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