Impact of EMR Automated Results Routing Tool Implementation on Notification of Inpatient Endoscopy Biopsy Results

Ted A. Spiewak, Stephanie L. Yan, Sooraj Tejaswi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mucosal biopsies are often obtained during inpatient endoscopies to aid diagnosis. Up to 75% of patients are reported to have pending test results at discharge. Incomplete result communication to patients can lead to patient anxiety and poor outcomes. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of a systemwide electronic medical record (EMR) update on result communication. Methods: The researchers retrospectively reviewed 100 inpatient endoscopies pending histopathology results at discharge to see if finalized results were communicated to the patients within 30 days. The same metric was studied after implementation of an EMR update that automatically routed results to the supervising endoscopist, by reviewing another 100 inpatient endoscopies during which biopsies were obtained. Follow-up rate pre– and post–EMR update was compared. Results: Prior to the update, 47/77 (61.0%) histopathology results were communicated to the patients. Of the 30 nonreported cases, 17 showed nonspecific/chronic inflammation, 8 had no abnormal findings, 3 showed hyperplastic colon polyps, and 2 had colonic tubular adenomas. Following the EMR update, 65/71 (91.5%) of pathology results were communicated, demonstrating an increase of 30.5 percentage points in the rate of follow-up (95% confidence interval [CI] = 17.7–43.0, p < 0.0001). Conclusion: This study observed that 39.0% of inpatient endoscopic mucosal biopsy results in one health care system were not communicated to the patients. Implementation of a systemwide EMR intervention reduced this to 8.5% by shifting the responsibility of result communication to the endoscopy team. Similar EMR enhancements can be applied to other pending test results in health care systems with similar issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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