Reduction of unnecessary repeat knee radiographs during osteoarthrosis follow-up visits in a large teaching medical center

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Abstract

Background: Professional organizations recommend against repeat radiographs for routine follow-up of osteoarthrosis. However, clinics frequently obtain radiographs during or before the clinical visit. The purpose of our project was to determine the baseline frequency of unnecessary knee radiographs and whether educational interventions can reduce this frequency. Methods: This QI project was exempt from IRB review. Radiology reports of knee radiographs were searched in our database filtered by presence of the words “severe”, “degenerative”, “osteoarthritis”, and similar variants. We reviewed 500 consecutive corresponding medical records to confirm the presence of severe osteoarthritis, and presence of a repeat radiograph within 6 months. Indications for repeat radiographs were determined. Repeat radiographs were counted as “non-indicated” when medical records revealed no new symptoms. A focused educational intervention was provided to the orthopedic and family practice departments. An additional 500 radiology reports were evaluated 9 months after intervention in the same manner and the rate of non-indicated radiographs was calculated. Follow-up review of additional 500 radiology reports at 1-year time point was performed. Results: Our initial search returned 1517 reports. Upon evaluation of 500 studies, there were 112/500 repeat radiographs (22%); 77/500 (15%) of knee radiographs were not indicated. Upon initial follow-up evaluation of 500 studies, there were 52/500 repeat radiographs (10%) and 40/500 (8%) radiographs were not indicated. The reduction of unnecessary repeat knee radiographs rate was sustained at 1 year. Conclusions: Focused educational intervention results in a substantial (50%) reduction of the number of unnecessary repeat knee radiographs in patients with known severe OA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1975-1980
Number of pages6
JournalSkeletal radiology
Volume48
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Keywords

  • Knee
  • OA
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Quality improvement
  • Radiograph
  • X-ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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