Veteranclaims’s Blog

September 28, 2009

Researchers Find 18% Failure to followup on Electronic Medical Alerts at VA

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 9:01 pm

Electronic Medical Alerts for Abnormal Results, Not Responded to 18% of the Time
Researchers have found that 18% of “123,638 imaging tests (including X-rays, computed tomographic [CT] scans, magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] and mammograms) performed during the study period”, were not acknowledged.

“Nearly all abnormal test results lacking timely follow-up at four weeks were eventually found to have measurable clinical impact in terms of further diagnostic testing or treatment,” the authors write.

Full Article at: Electronic alerts about abnormal imaging test results do not always result in timely follow-up
Contact: Bobbi Gruner
bobbi.gruner@va.gov
713-794-7349
JAMA and Archives Journals

“Abnormal results on outpatient imaging tests sometimes may not receive timely follow-up even when clinicians receive and read results in an advanced, integrated electronic medical record system, according to a report in the September 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.”

“The Department of Veterans Affairs, uses electronic communications with alerts to notify clinicians who order imaging tests about critical abnormal results”.

“Timely follow-up of abnormal results did not occur following 92 (7.7 percent) of all alerts, including 7.3 percent of alerts that were acknowledged and 9.7 percent of alerts that were unacknowledged. This follow-up was also less likely to occur when more than one clinician received the alert, but more likely to occur when a radiologist also communicated concerns about the results verbally, either by phone or in person. “Nearly all abnormal test results lacking timely follow-up at four weeks were eventually found to have measurable clinical impact in terms of further diagnostic testing or treatment,” the authors write.”

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