Critical Findings: Attempts at Reducing Notification Errors

Mona Shahriari, Li Liu, David M. Yousem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose Ineffective communication of critical findings (CFs) is a patient safety issue. The aim of this study was to assess whether a feedback program for faculty members failing to correctly report CFs would lead to improved compliance. Methods Fifty randomly selected reports were reviewed by the chief of neuroradiology each month for 42 months. Errors included (1) not calling for a CF, (2) not identifying a CF as such, (3) mischaracterizing non-CFs as CFs, and (4) calling for non-CFs. The number of appropriately handled and mishandled reports in each month was recorded. The trend of error reduction after the division chief provided feedback in the subsequent months was evaluated, and the equality of time interval between errors was tested. Results Among 2,100 reports, 49 (2.3%) were handled inappropriately. Among non-CF reports, 98.97% (1,817 of 1,836) were appropriately not called and not flagged, and 88.64% (234 of 264) of CF reports were called and flagged appropriately. The error rate during the 11th through 32nd months of review (1.28%) was significantly lower than the error rate in the first 10 months of review (3.98%) (P =.001). This benefit lasted for 21 months. Conclusions Review and giving feedback to radiologists increased their compliance with the CF protocol and decreased deviations from standard operating procedures for about 2 years (from month 10 to month 32). Developing new ideas for improving CF policy compliance may be required at 2- to 3-year intervals to provide continuous quality improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1354-1358
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Critical findings
  • communication
  • notification
  • quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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