Do Consultants Follow Up on Tests They Recommend? Insights from an Academic Inpatient Gastrointestinal Consult Service

Benjamin E. Cassell*, Ted Walker, Saad Alghamdi, Jason Bill, Pierre Blais, Harold Boutté, Jeffrey W. Brown, Gregory S. Sayuk, C. Prakash Gyawali

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Inpatient care is a fundamental part of gastroenterology training and involves the recommendation, performance, and interpretation of diagnostic tests. However, test results are not always communicated to patients or treating providers. We determined the process of communication of test results and recommendations in our inpatient gastroenterology (GI) consult service. Methods: Test recommendations on 304 consecutive new GI consults (age 60.2 ± 1.0 year) over a 2-month period were recorded. Demographic factors (age, race, gender, zip code, insurance status) were extracted from the electronic medical record (EMR). Charts were independently reviewed 6 months later to determine results of recommended tests, follow-up of actionable test results, 30-day readmission rates, and predictors of suboptimal communication. Results: Of 490 recommended tests, 437 (89.2%) were performed, and 199 (45.5%) had actionable findings. Of these, 48 (24.1%) did not have documented follow-up. Failure of follow-up was higher for upper endoscopy (31.9%) compared to colonoscopy (18.0%, p = 0.07). Women (p = 0.07), patients on Medicare (p = 0.05), and procedures supervised by advanced GI fellows (p = 0.06) were less likely to receive follow-up. Median income and identification of a primary provider did not influence follow-up rates; 30-day readmission rates were not impacted. Female gender, insurance (Medicare) status, and attending type remained independent predictors of failure of follow-up on multivariate regression (p ≤ 0.03). Conclusions: Failure to follow up test results on inpatient services at a large academic center was unacceptably high. Maximizing personnel participation together with diligence and technology (EMR) will be required to improve communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1448-1454
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Endoscopy
  • Gastroenterology training
  • Gastrointestinal tests
  • Quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology


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