Audit reveals unacceptable error rate for Canadian radiologist

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Canadian radiologist under question by Canadian health department. Source: Radiology Hunters  

Prince Edward Island’s (PEI) Health Department reported Monday that it will review tests done by a radiologist over a four-month period ending in April, after a preliminary audit showed an unacceptable error rate in the doctor's work.

About 4,500 patients who had ultrasounds, x-rays, CT scans and MRIs performed by the radiologist have received notice that their tests are being re-evaluated by specialists to ensure any mistakes will be rectified, according to the Canadian Press.

“Patient safety and quality care are our top priorities and that's why this review is happening,” PEI Health Minister Doug Currie said in a statement. “We know exactly which images were read by the radiologist over the past four months and all of them will be evaluated again to ensure amended reports are sent to attending or referring physicians if necessary.”

Three tests were reviewed earlier this month by the radiologist's colleagues and amended reports had to be issued, according to the PEI Health Department.

A sample audit was then carried out on 10 percent of the diagnostic imaging tests done by the doctor that showed “an unacceptable error rate,” and led to the full review, the PEI Health Department said.

The sample audit was done April 11-23 which indicated an error rate between 8 and 19 percent, depending on the type of test. The average error rate for all tests was 12 percent, the PEI Health Department reported.

The Canadian Press reported that there are no national Canadian standards on acceptable error rates and medical literature varies widely on the subject, with error rates ranging from 2 to 20 percent considered acceptable.

However, the PEI Health Department said that the province strives for an error rate of less than 5 percent in its quality audits.

The doctor, who began practicing on PEI last year, agreed to a leave of absence while the review takes place, according to the Canadian Press. The review is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.