Tracking Delays in Report Availability Caused by Incorrect Exam Status with Web-Based Issue Tracking: A Quality Initiative
Many radiology information systems (RIS) cannot accept a final report from a dictation reporting system before the exam has been completed in the RIS by a technologist. A radiologist can still render a report in a reporting system once images are available, but the RIS and ancillary systems may not get the results because of the study’s uncompleted status. This delay in completing the study caused an alarming number of delayed reports and was undetected by conventional RIS reporting techniques. We developed a Web-based reporting tool to monitor uncompleted exams and automatically page section supervisors when a report was being delayed by its incomplete status in the RIS. Institutional Review Board exemption was obtained. At four imaging centers, a Python script was developed to poll the dictation system every 10 min for exams in five different modalities that were signed by the radiologist but could not be sent to the RIS. This script logged the exams into an existing Web-based tracking tool using PHP and a MySQL database. The script also text-paged the modality supervisor. The script logged the time at which the report was finally sent, and statistics were aggregated onto a separate Web-based reporting tool. Over a 1-year period, the average number of uncompleted exams per month and time to problem resolution decreased at every imaging center and in almost every imaging modality. Automated feedback provides a vital link in improving technologist performance and patient care without assigning a human resource to manage report queues.
Key wordsQuality control quality assurance turnaround time human error communication
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