False-positive preliminary radiograph interpretations in a pediatric emergency department: Clinical and economic impact

Christine M. Walsh-Kelly, Halim M. Hennes, Marlene D. Melzer-Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

A prospective, case control study at a university-affiliated, academic pediatric emergency department was undertaken to determine the clinical impact and cost of false-positive preliminary radiograph interpretations and to compare the cost of false-positive interpretations with the estimated cost of a 24-hour on-site pediatric radiologist. Data were collected on all patients undergoing radiography of the chest, abdomen, lateral (soft tissue) neck, cervical spine, or extremities during a 5-month period. A total of 1,471 radiograph examinations was performed, and 200 (14%) misinterpretations (false-positive and false-negative) by the pediatric emergency medicine physicians were identified. As reported previously, 20 (10%) of the false- negative interpretations were noted to be clinically significant. In the current analysis, 103 (7%) false-positive radiograph interpretations were identified. False-positive interpretations were noted more frequently (14%) for soft tissue lateral neck radiographs than for any other radiograph type. Of the 103 total false-positive radiographs, nine (0.6%) resulted in an increased patient cost totaling $764.75. These data show that false-positive radiograph interpretations have limited economic and clinical impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-356
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

Keywords

  • Radiograph interpretation
  • Radiographs
  • Risk management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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