Improving Timely Resident Follow-Up and Communication of Results in Ambulatory Clinics Utilizing a Web-Based Audit and Feedback Module.
BACKGROUND: Failure to follow up and communicate test results to patients in outpatient settings may lead to diagnostic and therapeutic delays. Residents are less likely than attending physicians to report results to patients, and may face additional barriers to reporting, given competing clinical responsibilities. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to improve the rates of communicating test results to patients in resident ambulatory clinics. METHODS: We performed an internal medicine, residency-wide, pre- and postintervention, quality improvement project using audit and feedback. Residents performed audits of ambulatory patients requiring laboratory or radiologic testing by means of a shared online interface. The intervention consisted of an educational module viewed with initial audits, development of a personalized improvement plan after Phase 1, and repeated real-time feedback of individual relative performance compared at clinic and program levels. Outcomes included results communicated within 14 days and prespecified "significant" results communicated within 72 hours. RESULTS: A total of 76 of 86 eligible residents (88%) reviewed 1713 individual ambulatory patients' charts in Phase 1, and 73 residents (85%) reviewed 1509 charts in Phase 2. Follow-up rates were higher in Phase 2 than Phase 1 for communicating results within 14 days and significant results within 72 hours (85% versus 78%, P < .001; and 82% versus 70%, P = .002, respectively). Communication of "significant" results was more likely to occur via telephone, compared with communication of nonsignificant results. CONCLUSIONS: Participation in a shared audit and feedback quality improvement project can improve rates of resident follow-up and communication of results, although communication gaps remained.
Boggan, JC; Swaminathan, A; Thomas, S; Simel, DL; Zaas, AK; Bae, JG
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