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Assigning Responsibility To Close the Loop on Radiology Test Results

Kwan JL, Singh H. Assigning Responsibility To Close the Loop on Radiology Test Results. Diagnosis. 2017 Jun 16;

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Failure to follow-up on test results represents a serious breakdown point in the diagnostic process which can lead to missed or delayed diagnoses and patient harm. Amidst discussions to ensure fail-safe test result follow-up, an important, yet under-discussed question emerges: how do we determine who is ultimately responsible for initiating follow-up action on the tests that are ordered? This seemingly simple question belies its true complexity. Although many of these complexities are also applicable to other diagnostic specialities, the field of medical imaging provides an ideal context to discuss the challenges of attributing responsibility of test result follow-up. In this review, we summarize several key concepts and challenges in the context of critical results, wet reads, and incidental findings to stimulate further discussion on responsibility issues in radiology. These discussions could help establish reliable closed-loop communication to ensure that every test result is sent, received, acknowledged and acted upon without failure. Keywords: diagnostic error; health IT; medical

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