A study at the University of Arizona recently tried to answer the above question from the patient’s perspective.
A study at the University of Arizona recently tried to answer the above question from the patient’s perspective. Patients having outpatient CT and MRI studies were surveyed between February and March of 2011. 60% of those surveyed believed radiologists were specially trained physicians. 36% believed they were technologists who performed the exam and 4% thought a radiologist was a registered nurse with special training. Lead researcher Dr. Melanie Kuhlman commented that, “Radiologists have traditionally remained ‘behind the curtain’ when it comes to patient care, the voice without a face.”
64% of those surveyed would like to meet the radiologist who interpreted their exam. 12% of those surveyed said they would like to get abnormal test results from the radiologist and 73% said they would like the results as quickly as possible regardless of who delivered them.
The study authors wrote, “Whether in person or through reports, by communicating directly with patients, radiologists add value by providing accurate, authoritative information. As radiologists, we need to re-evaluate the established model of communication for reporting radiologic results and consider the positive impact on patient care and on the vitality of the radiology profession by directly communicating with patients.”