Referring Docs Want Better Communication with Radiologists

October 4, 2012

Referring physicians want an easier way to order studies, shorter turnaround times, and better communication of critical results, a survey found.

Most referring physicians - 71 percent - refer patients to multiple facilities for imaging studies, which means radiology groups need to step up their service game.

“In a private healthcare market, the service level provided will influence a referring physician’s decision on where to send patients,” according to a recent survey of referring docs by imaging company Sectra. Sectra polled 150 U.S. neurologists, neurosurgeons, urologists, orthopedists, internists and general surgeons to find out what they needed from radiologists.

So what do referring docs expect? The findings shouldn’t be too surprising. Referring physicians want an easier way to order studies, shorter turnaround times, and a secure method for notification of critical test results.

Here’s a breakdown of the results:

• 62 percent said shorter report turnaround times were important or very important. Referrers also want improved communications with those reports, including the ability to reach the radiologist directly and quickly.

• 69 percent said the ease of ordering studies was important or very important. Referring physicians said they struggle with the inability to schedule studies at certain times and a non-user-friendly scheduling process.

• 72.5 percent said effective notification of critical results was important or very important, and 60 percent said visualization tools for improved result communication was important or very important. Integrated 3D visualization tools can help the radiologist communicate the findings to referring physicians, the study authors stated.

“It’s especially interesting to see the referring physicians’ concerns about getting in touch with radiologists for follow-up questions when reading is outsourced,” Hans Lugnegard, product manager for Sectra’s Diagnostic Imaging Suite, said in the study.