NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital set out to reduce duplicate and unnecessary radiologic and laboratory testing. Based on an analysis of test ordering patterns, it was observed that there was a significant number of tests being ordered within short time intervals. The hypothesis was that in many cases this was the result of miscommunication or difficulty accessing test results among clinicians.
A policy was implemented in the electronic health record of patients to increase communication. When a clinician requests a duplicate test, an alert will appear to confirm that the test is necessary. If an x-ray is ordered within six hours of a previously ordered exam, the clinician placing the order is alerted.
The result was the elimination of more than 11,000 unnecessary x-rays each year and 2,000 blood tests each month. This reduction in duplication has not only saved money, it has improved care for patients by cutting down on radiation exposure, unnecessary blood draws, and disturbances to resting patients.