Reading room assistants to reduce workload and interruptions of radiology residents during on-call hours: Initial evaluation

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PURPOSE: To determine how much timesaving and reduction of interruptions reading room assistants can provide by taking over non-image interpretation tasks (NITs) from radiology residents during on-call hours.

METHODS: Reading room assistants are medical students who were trained to take over NITs from radiology residents (e.g. answering telephone calls, administrative tasks and logistics) to reduce residents' workload during on-call hours. Reading room assistants' and residents' activities were tracked during 6 weekend dayshifts in a tertiary care academic center (with more than 2.5 million inhabitants in its catchment area) between 10 a.m. and 5p.m. (7-hour shift, 420 min), and time spent on each activity was recorded.

RESULTS: Reading room assistants spent the most time on the following timesaving activities for residents: answering incoming (41 min, 19%) and outgoing telephone calls (35 min, 16%), ultrasound machine related activities (19 min, 9%) and paramedical assistance such as supporting residents during ultrasound guided procedures and with patients (17 min, 8%). Reading room assistants saved 132 min of residents' time by taking over NITs while also spending circa 31 min consulting the resident, resulting in a net timesaving of 101 min (24%) during a 7-hour shift. The reading room assistants also prevented residents from being interrupted, at a mean of 18 times during the 7-hour shift.

CONCLUSION: This study shows that the implementation of reading room assistants to radiology on-call hours could provide a timesaving for residents and also reduce the number of times residents are being interrupted during their work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111381
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Early online date17-Feb-2024
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2024


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