Data-Driven Quality Improvement Project to Increase the Value of the Congenital Echocardiographic Report
Echocardiography is the primary diagnostic modality for congenital heart disease patients. The written report is used to communicate with the care team and organization is often divided into the body with detailed findings and the conclusions with important findings summarized. Strategies to increase workflow efficiency include batch writing of reports after performance of multiple echocardiograms and the use of report templates which may contribute to discrepancies within report leading to potential downstream medical errors. The aim of this project was to measure the rate of inconsistencies in the echocardiogram reports and through an iterative series of process improvement decrease this rate while maintaining sonographer efficiency and diagnostic accuracy. The discrepancy rate, diagnostic error rate, and sonographer productivity were collected one-year prior and during the iterative quality improvement process. The primary outcome and discrepancies in reports were determined by two reviewers: an experienced pediatric echocardiographic cardiologist and a senior sonographer. Minor discrepancies were defined as contradictions between the body and the conclusion of the report that were unlikely to affect patient care. Major discrepancies were defined as discrepancies between the body and the conclusion that had significant potential to affect patient care. Sonographer productivity was measured as studies per sonographer per month. Our primary intervention was to initiate a quarterly QI meeting and to decrease the batch writing of preliminary echocardiogram reports. No major discrepancies were identified pre- or post-intervention. The minor discrepancies decreased from 40.7 to 6%. Sonographer productivity was not significantly changed with a slight increase from 100 studies/sonographer/month during the baseline to 101 studies/sonographer/month during the intervention. There was no change in major or minor diagnostic error rate. Our quality improvement intervention increased the value of our reports by significantly decreasing minor discrepancies without negatively impacting sonographer productivity or diagnostic accuracy.
KeywordsEchocardiography Quality improvement Quality intervention Efficiency
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
“All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.”
For this type of study formal consent is not required.
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