Surprise! Fatigue Affecting Diagnostic Accuracy in Radiology

April 26, 2018
Diagnostic Imaging Staff

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.