Do Consultants Follow Up on Tests They Recommend? Insights from an Academic Inpatient Gastrointestinal Consult Service.
Dig Dis Sci. 2017 Jun;62(6):1448-1454
Authors: Cassell BE, Walker T, Alghamdi S, Bill J, Blais P, Boutté H, Brown JW, Sayuk GS, Gyawali CP
BACKGROUND: Inpatient care is a fundamental part of gastroenterology training and involves the recommendation, performance, and interpretation of diagnostic tests. However, test results are not always communicated to patients or treating providers. We determined the process of communication of test results and recommendations in our inpatient gastroenterology (GI) consult service.
METHODS: Test recommendations on 304 consecutive new GI consults (age 60.2 ± 1.0 year) over a 2-month period were recorded. Demographic factors (age, race, gender, zip code, insurance status) were extracted from the electronic medical record (EMR). Charts were independently reviewed 6 months later to determine results of recommended tests, follow-up of actionable test results, 30-day readmission rates, and predictors of suboptimal communication.
RESULTS: Of 490 recommended tests, 437 (89.2%) were performed, and 199 (45.5%) had actionable findings. Of these, 48 (24.1%) did not have documented follow-up. Failure of follow-up was higher for upper endoscopy (31.9%) compared to colonoscopy (18.0%, p = 0.07). Women (p = 0.07), patients on Medicare (p = 0.05), and procedures supervised by advanced GI fellows (p = 0.06) were less likely to receive follow-up. Median income and identification of a primary provider did not influence follow-up rates; 30-day readmission rates were not impacted. Female gender, insurance (Medicare) status, and attending type remained independent predictors of failure of follow-up on multivariate regression (p ≤ 0.03).
CONCLUSIONS: Failure to follow up test results on inpatient services at a large academic center was unacceptably high. Maximizing personnel participation together with diligence and technology (EMR) will be required to improve communication.
PMID: 28391419 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]