Discrepancies in discrepancy meetings: Results of the UK national discrepancy meeting survey

Authors: S.J. Prowse, B. Pinkey, R. Etherington


Aim
To present the findings of the UK national discrepancy meeting survey of radiology departments across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland regarding the way in which discrepancy meetings are currently conducted. This is in the setting of impending changes required for revalidation.

Materials and methods
One hundred and fourteen (114) out of 195 (55%) of departments surveyed replied to an anonymous survey of 10 questions requesting information regarding the proportion of departments adopting a regular meeting, the consultant hours spent at the meeting, the system used and people involved in the identification of discrepancies, whether a grading system was used, and whether discrepancies were recorded on consultants appraisals.

Results

Ninety-seven percent of responders reported that their department has a regular discrepancy meeting. Among the responders, the average consultant attendance was 68%. Seven percent of departments did not record attendance. In departments that conduct discrepancy meetings, the number of cases discussed per month averaged 10. The average time spent per case was 6 min. Seventeen percent of departments ensure discrepancies form part of a consultant's appraisal. Twenty-seven percent reported not having a grading system, whereas those that do, use varying systems. Ninety-four percent reported that the majority of errors were identified by radiologists. Ten percent of departments undertake a systematic consultant review of random reported cases.

Conclusion
Discrepancy meetings provide a crucial role in clinical governance by facilitating an improvement in the quality of service provided by the radiology department. After more than a decade since the introduction of discrepancy meetings in the UK, there remains a great variety in implementation across the country, and important considerations, such as the need for grading and recording discrepancies in consultant appraisals. Reflection on discrepancies and also attendance at discrepancy meetings is required for impending revalidation.