Electronic Health Record Closed-Loop Communication Program for Unexpected Nonemergent Findings.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Background Reliance on examination reporting of unexpected imaging findings does not ensure receipt of findings or appropriate follow-up. A closed-loop communication system should include provider and patient notifications and be auditable through the electronic health record (EHR). Purpose To report the initial design of and results from using an EHR-integrated unexpected findings navigator (UFN) program that ensures closed-loop communication of unexpected nonemergent findings. Materials and Methods An EHR-integrated UFN program was designed to enable identification and communication of unexpected findings and aid in next steps in findings management. Three navigators (with prior training as radiologic technologists and sonographers) facilitated communication and documentation of results to providers and patients. Twelve months (October 2019 to October 2020) of results were retrospectively reviewed to evaluate patient demographics and program metrics. Descriptive statistics and correlation analysis were performed by using commercially available software. Results A total of 3542 examinations were reported within 12 months, representing 0.5% of all examinations performed (total of 749 649); the median patient age was 62 years (range, 1 day to 98 years; interquartile range, 23 years). Most patients were female (2029 of 3542 [57%]). Almost half of the examinations submitted were from chest radiography and CT (1618 of 3542 [46%]), followed by MRI and CT of the abdomen and pelvis (1123 of 3542 [32%]). The most common unexpected findings were potential neoplasms (391 of 3542 [11%]). The median time between examination performance and patient notification was 12 days (range, 0-136 days; interquartile range, 13 days). A total of 2127 additional imaging studies were performed, and 1078 patients were referred to primary care providers and specialists. Most radiologists (89%, 63 of 71 respondents) and providers (65%, 28 of 43 respondents) found the system useful and used it most frequently during regular business hours. Conclusion An electronic health record-integrated, navigator-facilitated, closed-loop communication program for unexpected radiologic findings led to near-complete success in notification of providers and patients and facilitated the next steps in findings management. © RSNA, 2021 See also the editorial by Safdar in this issue.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Schwartz, FR; Roth, CJ; Boardwine, B; Hardister, L; Thomas-Campbell, S; Lander, K; Montoya, C; Jaffe, TA

Published Date

  • October 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 301 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 123 - 130

PubMed ID

  • 34374592

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1527-1315

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1148/radiol.2021210057


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States