Moolah getsreports flyingout the door

January 1, 2009

Motivated by a $5000 bonus, radiologistsat Massachusetts GeneralHospital completed scan signoffs in afraction of the usual time.

Motivated by a $5000 bonus, radiologists at Massachusetts General Hospital completed scan signoffs in a fraction of the usual time.

"We wanted this to be a positive rather than a punitive motivator to try and get radiologists to sign their reports on time," said Dr. Giles Boland, an associate professor of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "It is unacceptable, for whatever reason, for people to sit on these reports."

A study showed that turnaround times decreased from an average of 19 hours to four within a year of the incentive's introduction.

In an effort to reduce report turnaround times, MGH offered 98 of its radiologists 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 from 2006 to 2008, which was part of a hospitalwide pay-for-performance program.

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.