Radiologists Feel Less Knowledgeable on Health Policy Issues

April 30, 2012

Radiologists believe they are less competent than other physicians when it comes to patient imaging costs and patient safety.

Radiologists believe they are less competent than other physicians when it comes to patient imaging costs and patient safety, say researchers from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and Northwestern University in Chicago.

For a study presented at the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, researchers compared 711 radiologists to 2,685 non-radiology physicians to determine how competent the radiologists felt when asked about imaging costs, medical malpractice, healthcare policy, and quality assurance.

“On a scale of one to five, with five being highly competent [three was considered competent], understanding of patient safety was rated as 3.1 by radiologists and 3.33 by non-radiologists,” said Rajni Natesan, MD, of Northwestern University, one of the study’s authors. Further, competence regarding knowledge of patient imaging cots was only 2.17 among the radiologists compared with 2.32 by non-radiologist.

The results were surprising, the study authors said in a release.

“In a time of healthcare reform, radiologists need to be ambassadors of change and must be sufficiently knowledgeable to positively guide reform both for the benefit of patients and for the future of our specialty,” said study author Richard Sharpe, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University. “Our findings raise concerns that we may be insufficiently prepared for this task."