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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Using STAT properly.

The misuse of the term STAT has long been a problem in many hospitals. Instead of being the universal word for "immediate," it has become a convenient phrase used, in some cases, to get what the physician wants now. Although the principles of this article may be applied to many modalities in the healthcare field, this article deals solely with portable chest x-rays performed at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview in Minneapolis. The diagnostic radiology department performed a 2-week analysis of orders in August 2004. The results showed that 74% of all portable chest x-rays were ordered as STAT. The manager, along with a staff radiologist, then created a list of clinical reasons that were appropriate for STAT, ASAP, or Routine orders. Then, there was a 2-week period of time delegated for education, during which the list was brought to the nurse managers of several patient care areas as well as some chief residents at the university's medical school. These individuals then shared the list with their staff. A second analysis conducted in November 2004 showed that an 11% decrease had been achieved. Given that 20,000 portable chest x-rays are performed at the medical center annually, the figure represents a 2,200 reduction in STAT portables per year. With the success of this endeavor, the radiology department piloted a second program to further decrease the number of STAT orders. Since the radiology department was using computed radiography (CR) and a picture archiving and communication system (PACS), research began to unearth the response times. The idea was to advertise to physicians how fast they could get their images, using the theory that if the times were quick enough, perhaps there would less of a tendency to order STATs. The results showed that a STAT order could be completed and viewable on PACS in an average of 17 minutes, and an ASAP in 28 minutes. A poster advertising these response times was generated and distributed to the nurse managers and residents to post in the inpatient units. The poster was well received. A two-week survey conducted in March 2005 showed that STATs now accounted for 54% of the portable chest x-rays. With this two-pronged approach, the radiology department was able to decrease the number of portable chest X-rays by 20%. Another 2-week survey conducted in May 2005 showed that number of portable chest x-rays ordered as STAT declined further to 52%.[1]


  1. Using STAT properly. Wesp, W. Radiology management. (2006) [Pubmed]
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