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Impact of Shift Volume on Neuroradiology Diagnostic Errors at a Large Tertiary Academic Center

Published:September 27, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2022.08.035

      Background and Purpose

      Medical errors can result in significant morbidity and mortality. The goal of our study is to evaluate correlation between shift volume and errors made by attending neuroradiologists at an academic medical center, using a large data set.

      Materials and Methods

      CT and MRI reports from our Neuroradiology Quality Assurance database (years 2014 – 2020) were searched for attending physician errors. Data were collected on shift volume, category of missed findings, error type, interpretation setting, exam type, clinical significance.

      Results

      654 reports contained diagnostic error. There was a significant difference between mean volume of interpreted studies on shifts when an error was made compared with shifts in which no error was documented (46.58 (SD=22.37) vs 34.09 (SD=18.60), p<0.00001); and between shifts when perceptual error was made compared with shifts when interpretive errors were made (49.50 (SD=21.9) vs 43.26 (SD=21.75), p=0.0094). 59.6% of errors occurred in the emergency/inpatient setting, 84% were perceptual and 91.1% clinically significant. Categorical distribution of errors was: vascular 25.8%, brain 23.4%, skull base 13.8%, spine 12.4%, head/neck 11.3%, fractures 10.2%, other 3.1%. Errors were detected most often on brain MRI (25.4%), head CT (18.7%), head/neck CTA (13.8%), spine MRI (13.7%).

      Conclusion

      Errors were associated with higher volume shifts, were primarily perceptual and clinically significant. We need National guidelines establishing a range of what is a safe number of interpreted cross-sectional studies per day.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      QA (Quality assurance), FTE (Full time employees), RVU (Relative value unit)
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