This poster presentation will describe how a sentinel event of a missed communication inspired a private radiology practice and a community hospital to work together to attain a consistent 99% or higher compliance using an inexpensive software program for audio capture and digital archiving into the electronic medical record.
Radiology Associates of Northern Kentucky, the largest private practice radiology group serving the tristate metropolitan area of greater Cincinnati, provides its services to the six healthcare facilities and four imaging centers of St. Elizabeth Healthcare.
In 2007, an urgent/significant findings template was created, enabling an interpreting radiologist to type a short impression. The template would be printed, with one copy digitally scanned into the hospital enterprise's PACS. The other copy would be given to the staff member of the digital media section responsible for communicating critical results to the ordering physician.
However, a sentinel event occurred, triggering a comprehensive evaluation of the methodology for communication verification, according to Eric Brandser, a radiologist working at St. Elizabeth Health Care in Edgewood, KY. This resulted in process modifications, including routine follow-up from the radiology report database, and assignment of the responsibility to notify the ordering physician to modality and department section supervisors.
During the evaluation, St. Elizabeth Health Care radiology staff at the main campus hospital in Edgewood discovered an audio recording and documentation software system (Trace, Whitestone Group, Knoxville, TN) with digital audio archiving capability. This was already being used by the billing and precertification staff. The radiology department spent $300 to convert a PC and adjacent phone line to use the software, and began to record all communications of radiology results.
The radiology department started testing the software in mid-2009, and it underwent full deployment on the main campus of St. Elizabeth Health Care several months later. Brandser will discuss the ease of using this inexpensive software, and the importance of teamwork to make this initiative a success.