Standardized Follow-Up Recommendations Improve Reporting of Incidental Renal Lesions in a Community Setting

Cureus. 2023 Jun 22;15(6):e40828. doi: 10.7759/cureus.40828. eCollection 2023 Jun.


Introduction The objective of this quality improvement study was to assess radiology report follow-up recommendation trends upon detection of incidental renal lesions before and after instituting standardized follow-up macros. Materials and methods A retrospective review was performed in 2019 of multiphase imaging workups on renal lesions (n = 396), including the following imaging modalities: ultrasound, CT with and without contrast, and spine MRI. Utilizing the same collection methods, a similar retrospective set of cases was collected in 2021, 12 months following the creation of the renal follow-up macros (n = 501). After exclusions, the second set was left with 98 cases of newly characterized incidental renal lesions. For both sets, we assessed the reports of the exams that initially detected the incidental renal lesion. We evaluated the incident reports for the presence of a follow-up recommendation, recommendation completeness, and alignment with the American College of Radiology (ACR) white paper suggestions for renal lesion follow-up. Results Before the implementation of the standardized renal follow-up macros, initial follow-up recommendations were in concordance with the ACR white paper recommendations in 33 of 98 cases (33.7%), incomplete or discordant in 49 of 98 (50.0%), and absent in 16 of 98 cases (16.3%). Following the institution of our macros, there was an improvement in concordant follow-up recommendations (51/98; 52.0%) (p = 0.009), a decrease in the number of incomplete or discordant recommendations (37/98; 37.8%), and a decrease in the number of reports lacking a follow-up recommendation (10/98; 10.2%). Conclusion Utilization of standard language renal lesion follow-up macros improves the rate of appropriate follow-up recommendations in radiology reports when encountering a previously unknown incidental renal lesion.

Keywords: follow-up algorithm; follow-up parameters; health care quality assurance; incidental renal mass; quality improvement tool.