Critical Result Reporting - White Papers

Automating physician communication and tracking urgent findings using information technology

By Shelly Fisher, President, BRIT Systems

Reporting critical or urgent findings in a diagnostic imaging study is an important patient safety and quality of care issue that many healthcare facilities deal with on a daily basis. A failure to communicate is often cited in malpractice or liability claims and this led the Joint Commission to emphasize the communication of urgent findings as part of their 2008 National Patient Safety Goals.

According to a 2009 presentation at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), 75% of malpractice cases at Yale-New Haven are communication related.1 Another article covering a 2009 SIIM presentation reported that 20% of lawsuits were the result of failure to communicate findings.2 Ramin Khorasani, MD, vice chair of radiology and director of medical imaging information technology of Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston) was quoted in the article as saying, "The state of monitoring critical results is woefully inadequate… IT will play a critical role in optimizing communications of current performance gaps."

Not only is there an incentive for hospitals to to reduce liability by documenting communication and receipt of critical results, but two accrediting organizations are addressing the issue as well. Improving the effectiveness of communication between caregivers is Goal 2 in the Joint Commission’s 2008 National Patient Safety Goals. According to the Joint Commission, “ineffective communication is the most frequently cited category of root causes of sentinel events.” The report further notes that timely, complete, accurate and unambiguous patient information that is clearly understood by the recipient (typically the referring physician) can increase patient safety and reduce errors.3


About BRIT Systems

BRIT Systems is a technology company that provides custom, turn-key solutions for PACS, RIS, teleradiology, including ASP solutions, and digital reporting solutions. Founded in 1993 with the goal of providing affordable PACS based on standards, BRIT designs and deploys high-quality PACS/RIS based on the company’s comprehensive understanding of radiology departments, medical imaging, networks, DICOM integration, security and highly-available computer systems. BRIT is an employee-owned corporation headquartered in Dallas, Texas.
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