Purpose: To determine the repeat rate (RR) of chest radiographs acquired with portable computed radiography (CR) and installed direct radiography (DR) and to develop and assess strategies designed to decrease the RR.
Materials and Methods: The RR and reasons for repeated digital chest radiographs were documented over the course of 16 months while a task force of thoracic radiologists, technologist supervisors, technologists, and information technology specialists continued to examine the workflow for underlying causes. Interventions decreasing the RR were designed and implemented.
Results: The initial RR of digital chest radiographs was 3.6% (138/3818) for portable CR and 13.3% (476/3575) for installed DR systems. By combining RR measurement with workflow analysis, targets for technical and teaching interventions were identified. The interventions decreased the RR to 1.8% (81/4476) for portable CR and to 8.2% (306/3748) for installed DR.
Conclusions: We found the RR of direct digital chest radiography to be significantly higher than that of computed chest radiography. We believe this is due to the ease with which repeat images can be obtained and discarded, and it suggests the need for ongoing surveillance of RR. We were able to demonstrate that strategies to lower the RR, which had been developed in the era of film-based imaging, can be adapted to the digital environment. On the basis of our findings, we encourage radiologists to assess their own departmental RRs for direct digital chest radiography and to consider similar interventions if necessary to achieve acceptable RRs for this modality.