(HealthDay News) — The surge in imaging utilization after the Boston Marathon bombing stressed emergency radiology operations; however, analysis of the process helped identify points for improvement in ongoing emergency operations planning, according to an after-action review published online July 15 in Radiology.

John Brunner, MD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, and colleagues analyzed imaging utilization and emergency radiology process turnaround times in response to the Boston Marathon bombing. The goal of the assessment was to highlight opportunities for improvement in the hospital’s emergency operations plan.

The researchers identified 40 patients presented to BWH after the bombing, with 16 admitted and 24 discharged home. Imaging occurred in the emergency department for 31 patients (78%), with 57 radiographic examinations conducted in 30 patients and 16 computed tomographic (CT) examinations in seven patients. Median time from blast to patient arrival was 97 minutes; patient arrival to emergency department examination order was 24 minutes; order to examination completion was 49 minutes; and examination completion to available dictated text report was 75 minutes. There was a significant increase in turnaround times for examination completion for radiography (52 minutes vs. annual median, 31 minutes; P=0.001), and a decrease in turnaround times for CT (37 minutes vs. annual median, 72 minutes; P=0.001). Report availability turnaround times did not significantly differ from annual medians.

“Process analysis enabled identification of successes and opportunities for improvement in ongoing emergency operations planning,” the authors write.

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