Internal Medicine Resident Engagement with a Laboratory Utilization Dashboard: Mixed Methods Study

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The objective of this study was to measure internal medicine resident engagement with an electronic medical record-based dashboard providing feedback on their use of routine laboratory tests relative to service averages. From January 2016 to June 2016, residents were e-mailed a snapshot of their personalized dashboard, a link to the online dashboard, and text summarizing the resident and service utilization averages. We measured resident engagement using e-mail read-receipts and web-based tracking. We also conducted 3 hour-long focus groups with residents. Using grounded theory approach, the transcripts were analyzed for common themes focusing on barriers and facilitators of dashboard use. Among 80 residents, 74% opened the e-mail containing a link to the dashboard and 21% accessed the dashboard itself. We did not observe a statistically significant difference in routine laboratory ordering by dashboard use, although residents who opened the link to the dashboard ordered 0.26 fewer labs per doctor-patient-day than those who did not (95% confidence interval, -0.77 to 0.25; P = 0.31). While they raised several concerns, focus group participants had positive attitudes toward receiving individualized feedback delivered in real time.

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