Overlap shifts to help urgent findings communication

October 13, 2010
Diagnostic Imaging, Diagnostic Imaging Vol 32 No 9, Volume 32, Issue 9

Overlapping radiologist works shifts can speed up the communication of urgent x-ray findings and improve patient care, a study from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard concludes.

Overlapping radiologist works shifts can speed up the communication of urgent x-ray findings and improve patient care, a study from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard concludes.

Facilities use on-call radiologists or teleradiology services especially for MRI and CT. But in many places, coverage for interpretation of other imaging, such as conventional x-rays, is incomplete, especially during overnight and early morning hours.

To determine any change in communication of urgent findings, the study compared day shifts overlapped by the early morning shifts with standard day shifts.

The study included 6448 x-ray exams performed during an early morning radiologist shift (3 a.m. to 11 a.m.). Urgent findings requiring immediate communication were detected in 308 studies. The mean elapsed time from image acquisition to the communication of urgent results was 340 minutes in the study group and 457 minutes in the control group, a nearly two-hour difference (J Am Coll Radiol 2010;7:715-721).