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Published: . Dec 2014

Wortman JR, Goud A, Raja AS, Marchello D, Sodickson A

Structured physician order entry for trauma CT: value in improving clinical information transfer and billing efficiency.
(AJR Am J Roentgenol)

The purpose of this study was to measure the effects of use of a structured physician order entry system for trauma CT on the communication of clinical information and on coding practices and reimbursement efficiency. This study was conducted between April 1, 2011, and January 14, 2013, at a level I trauma center with 59,000 annual emergency department visits. On March 29, 2012, a structured order entry system was implemented for head through pelvis trauma CT, so-called pan-scan CT. This study compared the following factors before and after implementation: communication of clinical signs and symptoms and mechanism of injury, primary International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) code category, success of reimbursement, and time required for successful reimbursement for the examination. Chi-square statistics were used to compare all categoric variables before and after the intervention, and the Wilcoxon rank sum test was used to compare billing cycle times. A total of 457 patients underwent pan-scan CT in 2734 distinct examinations. After the intervention, there was a 62% absolute increase in requisitions containing clinical signs or symptoms (from 0.4% to 63%, p<0.0001) and a 99% absolute increase in requisitions providing mechanism of injury (from 0.4% to 99%, p<0.0001). There was a 19% absolute increase in primary ICD-9-CM codes representing clinical signs or symptoms (from 2.9% to 21.8%, p<0.0001), and a 7% absolute increase in reimbursement success for examinations submitted to insurance carriers (from 83.0% to 89.7%, p<0.0001). For reimbursed studies, there was a 14.7-day reduction in mean billing cycle time (from 68.4 days to 53.7 days, p=0.008). Implementation of structured physician order entry for trauma CT was associated with significant improvement in the communication of clinical history to radiologists. The improvement was also associated with changes in coding practices, greater billing efficiency, and an increase in reimbursement success.

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1. Wortman JR
2. Goud A
3. Raja AS
4. Marchello D
5. Sodickson A

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