RSNA 2013 

Abstract Archives of the RSNA, 2013


Improving Critical Test Result Notifications Performance

Education Exhibits

Presented on December 1, 2013
Presented as part of LL-INS-SUB: Informatics - Sunday Posters and Exhibits (1:00pm - 1:30pm)


Ingy Hanna MD, Abstract Co-Author: Nothing to Disclose
Jacquelyn Copeland MD, Presenter: Nothing to Disclose
Mark A. Flyer MD, Abstract Co-Author: Nothing to Disclose
Brian David Gale MD, Abstract Co-Author: Owner, SaferMD, LLC


Failure to communicate is an increasing source of litigation against physicians, and specifically radiologists. From 1991-2009, radiology malpractice awards increased by an average of $4.7 million annually with communication failures accounting for 7-8% of the total cost. Unread test results may also be a source of significant CMS compliance penalties. Consequently, many institutions expedite reportable result notification by using critical test result management (CTRM). These systems enable the radiologist to asynchronously communicate findings to referring clinicians. After the radiologist sends the finding into the CTRM system, the referring physician receives a notification that a critical or significant radiologic finding has been made allowing them to both retrieve the finding and trigger a receipt time stamp. This facilitates and documents communication of significant radiologic findings to the referring physician.


We implemented a performance report that allows us to quickly and effectively analyze the data from the CTRM system over a given period of time. Administrators can determine, amongst other things, the significance of the message sent, the referring physicians and departments with the longest message retrieval intervals, and how referring physicians rank amongst others in compliance with message retrieval times. This information can be used to manage providers' performance and optimize communications of diagnostic test results.


Compiling this information into a unified summary would allow institutions to assess the strong and weak points in communication of radiologic information, thereby allowing them to focus corrective efforts on those that are not in compliance. Importantly, it allows departments to track improvement in compliance after corrective efforts are made.


Using CTRM performance metrics could enable institutions to target weak points in communication, improving test result communication reliability and accelerating appropriate treatment decisions. This can improve length of stay, reduce the incidence of medical errors and enhance patient safety, subsequently reducing liability from malpractice litigation and compliance penalties.

Cite This Abstract

Hanna, I, Copeland, J, Flyer, M, Gale, B, Improving Critical Test Result Notifications Performance.  Radiological Society of North America 2013 Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, December 1 - December 6, 2013 ,Chicago IL.