Survey finds physicians prefer single physician reads for multi-part CT scans
It’s often said that two eyes are better than one—but a new survey published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology suggests, when it comes to multi-part CT scans, physicians would prefer a single radiologist’s take in order to reduce potential communication failures that may lead to medical errors.
Complex imaging orders, particularly multi-part CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, are increasing. And with so many subspecialists in the radiology field, it’s not uncommon for several radiologists to offer their take on a multi-part imaging study. Researchers from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago surveyed more than 200 physicians from emergency medicine, outpatient internal medicine, hospitalist medicine, general surgery, and radiology from two different institutions in order to better understand referring physician preferences as well as best practices for the communication of radiologic findings.
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The survey discovered that both radiologists and referring physicians prefer to have a single radiologist read an image and communicate their findings in a single report for a multi-part CT scan to avoid “ambiguity.” This result was seen in both responses to Likert-like questions and open response fields, and the physicians showed mildly greater confidence and the possibility of “more rapid patient care decisions” when a single radiologist handled all scans.
The authors argue that it’s possible that multiple radiologist reports may lack clear interpretations or recommendations and, as such, overall, the survey results demonstrate the importance of a clear and cohesive results interpretation. Despite the growing number of radiologic subspecialties, the researchers suggest single read and report in these multi-part studies may help reduce the potential for medical errors and misdiagnosis.