Moola gets reports flying out the door

December 2, 2008

When offered $5000 bonuses, motivated residents at Massachusetts General Hospital completed scan signoffs in a fraction of the usual time.

When offered $5000 bonuses, motivated residents at Massachusetts General Hospital completed scan signoffs in a fraction of the usual time.

A study showed that turnaround times decreased from 19 hours to five within a year in the pay-for-performance incentive.

In an effort to reduce report turnaround times, MGH offered 98 of its residents a bonus if they cut the time it took from examination completion to final signature. Some 1.5 million reports were analyzed at the large teaching hospital.

Measurements included the time from exam completion to preliminary report availability by residents or fellows, and the time from preliminary report to final staff signature. Dictation was performed using voice recognition software, a key factor in the process.

Goals varied according to practice, from two hours for the emergency department to 24 hours for neuro-interventional radiology.

The pay-for-performance measure was most profound for the preliminary to final report signoff segment, where turnaround time was reduced by more than 24 hours.

In addition to the bonus incentive, peer pressure was a factor as well, the researchers said.

In another report from the same session on health policy, an analysis of fibroid treatment options showed that, not surprisingly, women prefer MR-guided focused ultrasound surgery or uterine artery embolization over the traditional hysterectomy.

Some 400 patients participated in the telephone survey that measured quality of life issues, costs, and outcomes. A majority of the women were 10 years from menopause.

For most of the women, the longer they waited before getting treatment, the worse they felt about it, especially getting a hysterectomy, the researchers said.

Editor's note: Our British colleagues reported unfamiliarity with the American slang term moola, which means money in the States but must make no sense at all to non-English speakers. One reader thought moola was the name of a commercial quality improvement program or a type of software. Our apologies if our attempts to liven up the headlines have led to confusion. Is some developer out there ready to create that moola program?