Simple changes to the reporting environment produce a large reduction in the frequency of interruptions to the reporting radiologist: an observational study

Carina Banziger (Lead / Corresponding author), Kirsty McNeil, Hui Lu Goh, Samantha Choi, Ian A. Zealley

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Abstract

Background: Interruptions are a cause of discrepancy, errors, and potential safety incidents in radiology. The sources of radiological error are multifactorial and strategies to reduce error should include measures to reduce interruptions.

Purpose: To evaluate the effect of simple changes in the reporting environment on the frequency of interruptions to the reporting radiologist of a hospital radiology department.

Material and Methods: A prospective observational study was carried out. The number and type of potentially disruptive events (PDEs) to the radiologist reporting inpatient computed tomography (CT) scans were recorded during 20 separate 1-h observation periods during both pre- and post-intervention phases. The interventions were (i) relocation of the radiologist to a private, quiet room, and (ii) initial vetting of clinician enquiries via a separate duty radiologist

Results: After the intervention there was an 82% reduction in the number of frank interruptions (PDEs that require the radiologist to abandon the reporting task) from a median 6 events per hour to 1 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 4–6; P < 0.00001). The overall number of PDEs was reduced by 56% from a median 11 events per hour to 5 (95% CI = 4.5–11: P < 0.00001).

Conclusion: Relocation of inpatient CT reporting to a private, quiet room, coupled with vetting of clinician enquiries via the duty radiologist, resulted in a large reduction in the frequency of interruptions, a frequently cited avoidable source of radiological error.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1873 - 1879
Number of pages7
JournalActa Radiologica
Volume64
Issue number5
Early online date27 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Keywords

  • Computed tomography
  • interruptions
  • reducing interruptions
  • reporting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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