David Danhauer, M.D., FAAP, FHIMSS, chief medical information officer, Owensboro Health, Owensboro, Ky., explains the implementation of healthcare information technology (IT) to coordinate followup on incidental radiology findings. He presented on this topic in a session at the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2021 meeting.
Their system starts with key words being identified to flag incidental findings by the voice recognition system used to enter radiology report information. IT interfaces with the electronic medical record create a list of patients that need followup and what departments the incidental findings relate to so a coordinator can connect the patient with the proper subspecialty.
Danhauer said many of the incidental findings at his center include lung nodules and abdominal aortic aneurisms. In the past, many of these were lost to followup, but the new system now promotes follow through to get the patient the care they need. This has helped increase revenue, improve patient care and lowers the health system's liability profile.
The system experienced several patient safety events due to gaps in care coordination with incidental findings documented in the radiology report, but missed by referring physicians. A patient safety initiative he helped implement automating the workflow resulted in a nine-fold increase in identifying and communicating incidental findings for improved patient safety.
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