Recent Measures to Improve Radiology Reporting: Perspectives From Primary Care Physicians

Authors: Andrew J. Gunn, MD, Dushyant V. Sahani, MD, Susan E. Bennett, MD, Garry Choy, MD


Purpose

There is considerable interest in improving radiology reporting practices. It has been suggested recently that reporting practices could be improved by more direct involvement of radiologists in delivering results to patients and by making clear recommendations within the radiology report. The opinions of primary care physicians about these initiatives are not well known. The authors surveyed primary care physicians to better understand their views.

Methods

An online survey was distributed to 229 primary care physicians through an internal list server, and responses were collected confidentially.


Results

There were 100 responses (a 43.6% response rate). The majority of respondents were satisfied with radiology reporting and recommendations in general. Ninety-five percent of respondents felt that ordering physicians should deliver the results of examinations. No respondents felt that radiologists should deliver results directly to patients. Ninety-four percent of respondents felt medicolegally obligated by recommendations made by radiologists within their reports. Twenty-three percent of respondents felt more medicolegally obligated if the recommendation is set apart from the clinical impression, while 58% of respondents felt less medicolegally obligated if qualifying language is added to the recommendation.


Conclusions

Primary care physicians prefer to deliver the results of examinations themselves and feel medicolegally obligated by recommendations within radiology reports, even though this seems to be influenced by the wording and location of the recommendations within reports. Radiologists should consider these factors when contemplating changes in reporting practices.