Breast imaging second opinion consultation: A single institution's process of improvement and reform

Sonya Bhole*, Luke Freiburg, Elona Liko Hazizi, Sarah M. Friedewald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To review a single institution's second opinion breast imaging process, data tracking, and metrics before and after implementing quality improvement changes and the effect on report turnaround time. Methods: This Institutional Review Board approved retrospective quality improvement project was performed at a tertiary-care academic medical center and included patients 18 years or older who submitted their outside facility imaging for reinterpretation (any combination of mammography, breast ultrasonography, and/or magnetic resonance imaging performed within the last six months) with finalized second opinion reports between June 1, 2016, and July 17, 2017. Significant intradepartmental changes were implemented March 2017 with the goal to improve second opinion report turnaround time. Key metrics from 399 studies were analyzed before and after implemented changes.Two-sided Fisher's exact test was used to assess the significance of results. Results: After department interventions, the percentage of outside reports available at the time of surgical consultation improved from 82% (213/259) to 91% (127/140), an 11% improvement (P < 0.05).The average number of days from initial second opinion consultation to the availability of final report improved from 10.2 days to 9 days, a 12% improvement. Prior to the changes, the number of days it took a radiologist to complete a report varied from 1 to 4 days, but afterwards was consistently 1 day or less. Conclusion: Implementation of second opinion intradepartmental changes demonstrated a significant improvement in report turnaround time and the number of finalized reports available at the time of surgical consultation. An efficient second opinion process is crucial to a breast imaging center, as it ultimately expedites patient surgical and oncological care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-239
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Breast Imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • Breast cancer
  • Breast imaging
  • Outside interpretation
  • Second opinion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology

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