13 Jan Study Examines Follow-up Of Abnormal Radiology Results
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Aymer Al-Mutairi, MD
Primary Care Research fellow
Dept. Family and Community Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Al-Mutairi: Previous studies indicate that 8% of abnormal imaging results did not receive follow-up actions by referring providers within 4 weeks. In addition, abnormal imaging results often state recommendations for further testing and radiology reports occasionally contain language that conveys doubt regarding the results.
We hypothesized that recommendations for further imaging, and expressions of doubt or uncertainty in the radiology report, are more likely to be associated with lack of timely follow-up. We found that patients with abnormal imaging results where radiologists recommended further imaging were less likely to be followed-up by a treating clinician within 4 weeks compared with patients without such recommendations. Expression of “doubt” in the radiology reports did not affect follow-up actions.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Al-Mutairi: Patients with abnormal imaging results with recommendations for additional imaging are more likely to lack timely follow-up compared with patients with abnormal imaging results without such recommendations. This finding underscores the potential need for developing additional safeguards that allow for better monitoring and tracking of patients with recommendations of further imaging to ensure appropriate follow-up actions.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Al-Mutairi: Our findings call for additional monitoring and tracking of patients with recommendations of further imaging to ensure appropriate follow-up actions. This finding should be validated in additional larger studies of radiologist recommendations including those outside the VA system.
Last Updated on January 26, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD