Study shows patient responses can identify errors and lead to better quality improvement efforts.
Patient engagement and feedback isn’t a new concept in healthcare – but, new research now shows that involving patients in the radiology report can also be beneficial.
In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, a team of investigators from the University of Virginia (UVA) took an in-depth look at the impact of asking patients and providers for their feedback. They found including their input reduces errors and improves quality improvement initiatives.
“With the digitization of medical records and 21st Century Cures Act regulatory mandates to facilitate patient’s access to health data, patients will have immediate and direct access to radiology reports,” said the team led by Arun Krishnaraj, M.D., associate professor of radiology and medical imaging at UVA. “The feedback from patients (and providers) could provide opportunities for radiology to improve unmet needs.”
For their study, the team examined 367 patient and provider responses to a two-question survey. They included the survey in the electronic health records of two institutions between January 2018 and May 2020, gathering feedback via free-text in one facility and five-star rating system in the other.
Overall, patients accounted for 60 percent of survey responses, and their text-based feedback addressed report thoroughness, report errors, report timeliness, access to reports, desires for a patient summary, and desires to access key images.
According to the team's analysis, not only did patients provide more feedback, but they were also more satisfied with reports than were providers – 76 percent and 65 percent, respectively. Patients expressed the most happiness with report timeliness and document access.
Among all reports, 27 errors were identified, and error rates were similar across both groups. Most mistakes were in clinical histories. For patients, 8 percent indicated errors, and 9 percent of providers did so. As patients gain greater access to their medical records and radiology reports, the team said, the industry could see a long-term benefit of fewer errors.
Ultimately, the team said, incorporating patient and provider feedback could lead to greater specificity and conscientiousness from radiologists when dictating reports.
“This study provides evidence that patient feedback helps identify areas of concern to help improve radiology reporting practices,” the team said. “Since patients’ perspectives are becoming increasingly valued as end users of radiology reports, understanding drivers of positive and negative ratings offer insight into the improvement of radiology reports.”
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