Radiologists’ errors in communication can have a direct impact on patient care.
Over one-third of communication errors that take place in a radiology department have a direct impact on patient care, and more than half have a potential impact, according to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.
Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA, performed a study to determine the impact of communication errors on patient care, customer satisfaction, and work-flow efficiency and to identify opportunities for quality improvement.
The researchers found 380 of 422 cases of communication errors gathered from the quality assurance database at their facility between August 1, 2004 and December 31, 2014, which fit their criteria. The cases were analyzed for where in the imaging process the errors occurred, such as during ordering, scheduling, examination performance, study interpretation, or communication of the results. The impact on patient care was then graded on a five-point scale: none (0) to catastrophic (4).
The most common step where errors occurred was during communication of the results:
|Step where error occurred||Number of patients affected|
|Ordering||53 patients (13.9%)|
|Scheduling||18 patients (4.7%)|
|Examination performance||114 patients (30.0%)|
|Study interpretation||14 patients (3.7%)|
|Result communication||181 patients (47.6%)|
There was no statistically significant difference in impact severity between errors that occurred during result communication and those that occurred at other times, the researchers noted. According to the researchers, patient care was impacted in 144 cases (37.9%) and 200/380 (52.6%) of cases had the potential for an impact:
|Impact||Number of patients affected||Step where error occurred|
|Minor||21 patients (5.5%)||Result communication: 13 All other steps: 8|
|Moderate||34 patients (8.9%)||Result communication: 12 All other steps: 22|
|Major||89 patients (23.4%)||Result communication: 45 All other steps: 44|
|No impact noted||236 patients (62.1%)|