A study using Verdi software at the Mater Mothers Hospital in Brisbane has shown that all test results are viewed with the majority being within 24 hours. The authors note that this level of results acknowledgement (RA) is unprecedented compared to any paper based systems.
One of the aims to this study was to overcome medical risk to patients associated with incomplete or delayed follow-up of test results. A 2011 report by the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission (quoted in this paper), shows that 11% of incidents with serious outcomes (e.g. death) and 32% with major clinical outcomes (e.g. loss of bodily function) are associated with delayed or incomplete follow-up of results
Assoc Prof Andrew Georgiou and Prof Johanna Westbrook from the University of NSW’s Australian Institute of Health Innovation recently published the study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA). Their team collected data from August 2011 to August 2012 at the 249 bed Mater Mother’s Hospital.
Clinicians acknowledged all 27,354 inpatient test results for 6844 patients with the tick of a box within the system. Sixty percent of pathology results and 44% of imaging results were acknowledged within 24 hours. The median time from viewing a result to acknowledgment was 7 mins for pathology and 1 min for imaging.
When results were not acknowledged within 72 hours, email/pager alerts were sent to more senior staff. Further escalation points were also configured for longer delays. The alerts supplemented traditional communication such as phoning clinicians when RA was delayed.
Verdi enables integration of disparate databases throughout an organisation whilst keeping the data open. We supply our customers with software development tool and training to development staff part of our standard implementation service. The Mater developed their own protocols and interface for RA and electronic request forms using Verdi.
“The electronic RA system provides a safety net to ensure that all results can be monitored in real-time, representing a significant advance on previous test management practices, which often relied on time consuming retrospective paper-based audits to monitor, identify and rectify problems”
Whilst the study is very positive it does not report on a baseline for reporting before the RA system was implemented or discuss clinician actions upon acknowledgment of results. The Mater Health Service is planning of examine this in future.
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