Notification System for Overdue Radiology Recommendations Improves Rates of Follow-Up and Diagnosis
Jaimee Mannix, Justine LaVoye, Michael Wasserman, Nicholas E Lada, Keita Onoue, Khalid Hassan, Rutuparna Sarangi, Samir Haroon, Aneesa Gaffar, Muhammad M Qureshi, Avneesh Gupta
AJR Am J Roentgenol . 2021 Aug;217(2):515-520. doi: 10.2214/AJR.20.23173. Epub 2021 Jun 2.
OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to quantify improved rates of follow-up and additional important diagnoses made after notification for overdue workups recommended by radiologists.
MATERIALS AND METHODS. Standard reports from imaging studies performed at our institution from October through November 2016 were searched for the words "recommend" or "advised," yielding 9784 studies. Of these, 5245 were excluded, yielding 4539 studies; reports for 1599 of these 4539 consecutive studies were reviewed to identify firm or soft recommendations or findings requiring immediate management. If recommended follow-ups were incomplete within 1 month of the advised time, providers were notified. Compliance was calculated before and after notification and was compared using a one-sample test of proportion.
RESULTS. Of 1599 patients, 92 were excluded because they had findings requiring immediate management, and 684 were excluded because of soft recommendations, yielding 823 patients. Of these patients, 125 were not yet overdue for follow-up and were excluded, and 18 were excluded because of death or transfer to another institution. Of the remaining 680 patients, follow-up was completed for 503 (74.0%). A total of 177 (26.0%) of the 680 patients were overdue for follow-up, and providers were notified. Of these 177 patients, 36 (20.3%) completed their follow-ups after notification, 34 (19.2%) had follow-up designated by the provider as nonindicated, and 107 (60.5%) were lost to follow-up, yielding four clinically important diagnoses: one biopsy-proven malignancy, one growing mass, and two thyroid nodules requiring biopsy. The rate of incomplete follow-ups after communication decreased from 26.0% (177/680) to 20.7% (141/680) (95% CI, 17.7-23.9%; p = .002), with a 20.4% reduction in relative risk of noncompliance, and 39.5% (70/177) of overdue cases were resolved when nonindicated studies were included.
CONCLUSION. Notification of overdue imaging recommendations reduces incomplete follow-ups and yields clinically important diagnoses.
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