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

Carina Banziger*, Kirsty McNeil, Nui Luh Goh, Samantha Choi, Ian Zealley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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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 - 1 May 2023

Keywords

  • Computed tomography
  • Interuptions
  • Reporting
  • Reducing interruptions

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