Surprise! Fatigue Affecting Diagnostic Accuracy in Radiology

Radiologists are tired and this affects diagnostic accuracy. Now if there were only more hours in the day...

Fatigue is a present problem among radiologists and affects diagnostic accuracy, according to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Researchers from Canada performed a review to assess current literature regarding radiologist fatigue. They sought articles that discussed radiologist fatigue and radiologic error stemming from fatigue; experimental results measured as accuracy, error, or performance; and peer-reviewed publication. The researchers addressed the risk of bias by including both quantitative and qualitative studies.

A total of 27 articles, mainly primary research, were included. Common outcome measures included:

• Subjective self-reports
• Tests to measure eyestrain
• Reaction time

Recommendation from various groups included:

• Number of hours worked
• Ergonomic interventions
• Implementation of tools to measure and standardize fatigue and optimize workflow
• Education in appropriate viewing habits and breaks

One small study (seven participants) recommended radiologists should sleep well to improve their performance and overall well-being, despite the undeniable evidence that radiologists are fatigued.

The researchers concluded that fatigue is present in radiology and affects diagnostic accuracy.