Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 26

Utilization and utility of clinical laboratory reports with graphical elements


1 Department of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
2 ARUP Institute for Clinical and Experimental Pathology, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
3 Department of Pathology and Biomedical Informatics, University of Utah School of Medicine; ARUP Institute for Clinical and Experimental Pathology, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Correspondence Address:
Brian H Shirts
Department of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2153-3539.100145

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Background: Graphical reports that contain charts, images, and tables have potential to convey information more effectively than text-based reports; however, studies have not measured how much clinicians value such features. We sought to identify factors that might influence the utilization of reports with graphical elements postulating that this is a surrogate for relative clinical utility of these graphical elements. Materials and Methods: We implemented a pilot project at ARUP laboratories to develop online enhanced laboratory test reports that contained graphical elements. We monitored on-demand clinician access to reports generated for 48 reportable tests over 22 months. We evaluated utilization of reports with graphical elements by clinicians at all institutions that use ARUP as a reference laboratory using descriptive statistics, regression, and meta-analysis tools to evaluate groups of similar test reports. Results: Median download rate by test was 8.6% with high heterogeneity in download rates between tests. Test reports with additional graphical elements were not necessarily downloaded more often than reports without these elements. Recently implemented tests and tests reporting abnormal results were associated with higher download rates (P < 0.01). Higher volume tests were associated with lower download rates (P = 0.03). Conclusions: In select cases graphical information may be clinically useful, particularly for less frequently ordered tests and in on reports of abnormal results. The utilization data presented could be used as a reference point for other laboratories planning on implementing graphical reporting. However, between-test heterogeneity was high and in many cases graphical elements may add little clinical utility, particularly if these merely reinforce information already contained in text based reports.


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