Radiologist, Acute Physician Face Time Alters Decisions

April 11, 2016

Patient management, treatment changes when radiologists speak directly to acute care physicians.

In-person communication between radiologists and acute care physicians results in improved patient care, regardless of available written communication, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Researchers from the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor sought to determine if direct in-person communication between radiologists and acute care surgical teams would affect surgical decision making. The researchers analyzed semiweekly rounds that were held between the acute care surgery team and three expert abdominal radiologists, and performed a comprehensive imaging review of recent and comparison examinations for cases selected by the surgeons in which medical and/or surgical decision making was pending. A total of 100 patients were reviewed by 11 attending surgeons.

The results showed that when in-person meetings between the teams were held, changes in the surgeon diagnostic impressions were made in 43 of the 100 cases (43%). There were also changes in 43 of the 100 patients (43%) regarding medical and/or surgical management. Twenty changes were acute changes, 23 were nonacute changes, and 19 were changes in operative management. The researchers also found major discrepancies (RADPEER score 3 or more) between the impression of the reviewing radiologist and the written report in 11 of the 100 cases (11%).[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"47571","attributes":{"alt":"Radiology","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_9803049351699","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"5615","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"height: 148px; width: 180px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: right;","title":"©Sam72/Shutterstock.com","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

“Targeted in-person collaboration between radiologists and acute care surgeons is associated with substantial and frequent changes in patient management, even when the original written report contains all necessary data,” the researchers concluded. “The primary mechanism seems to be promotion of a shared mental model that facilitates the exchange of complex information.”