Rationale and objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the impact on times of verification (TOVs) by a pager notification system (PNS) that informs physicians when reports are available for signature.
Materials and methods: An automated PNS was implemented in the authors' department in November 2000. Monthly report verification times of each physician were collected for 3 months in the years before and after initiation of the PNS. Radiologists enrolled in the PNS and those who were not were assigned into two groups for analysis. Mean TOVs for the two sets of 3 months and for the two groups were calculated and differences recorded. Two-tailed t tests were used to assess for statistical differences between the groups.
Results: Twenty-nine of 37 radiologists voluntarily enrolled in the PNS (group 1). Mean TOV was 26.75 hours (standard deviation [SD] = 17.76) for these physicians before and 14.48 hours (SD = 11.86) after the PNS was employed (P < .01). For those physicians who did not enroll in the PNS, mean TOV was 11.53 hours (SD = 5.55) before and 9.77 hours (SD = 9.86) after the PNS was employed (P = .33). Both the absolute and percentage reductions in TOVs were significantly greater for those physicians enrolled in the PNS than for those who were not (P = .035). Twenty-three of 29 (79%) physicians who used the PNS showed a reduction in their report turnaround times.
Conclusion: Linking the PNS with the radiology information system to notify physicians of unsigned reports was effective in reducing report verification times.