Lumbar MRI Reporting Efficiency for Trainees Over the Academic Year: An Opportunity for Improving Clinical Workflows in Academic Medical Centers.
PURPOSE: Reporting efficiency is commonly used to measure performance and quality in diagnostic imaging. For academic centers, balancing the clinical demand for efficient reporting and educational obligation to trainees remains a major challenge. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of trainee education on reporting efficiency over the academic year (July to June) for a single diagnostic imaging examination type. METHODS: The authors reviewed a 10-year data set of lumbar spinal MRI reports and time-stamp data and compared change in mean reporting time for trainee versus attending radiologist-only reports. Odds ratios, linear regression, and correlation analysis were performed to evaluate relationships of mean and cumulative reporting times, volume, and study month. RESULTS: Mean reporting time for the trainee group peaked in July (287.2 ± 4.9 min). The largest month-to-month increase was from June to July (+46.3 min, P < .01) for the trainees, and July showed the largest deviation from annualized mean reporting time (odds ratio, 1.31; 95% confidence interval, 1.16-1.47; P < .001). Mean reporting time improved linearly over the course of the academic year from July to June for trainees (R2 = 0.59, P = .002), but this effect was absent in the attending radiologist-only group (P = .52). CONCLUSIONS: This study quantifies the effect of trainee education on reporting efficiency and models the operational "learning curve" of improved performance over the academic year. These data may inform staffing and workflow improvement efforts in academic radiology departments.
Caton, MT; Wiggins, WF; Pomerantz, SR; Andriole, KP
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