Facetime pays off

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 - Evan headshot 2013
Evan Godt, Editorial Director

For several years, the radiology community has been trying to shed the image of physicians hidden away in a dark reading room and get more in touch with patients. One of this week’s top stories showed once again why this is important.

Despite offering essential services to patient care, many in the general public are unsure what a radiologist even does—some assume their referring physician is the only one who can interpret an image—and others are unclear that radiologists are physicians.

Giving more facetime to patients allows radiologists to not only help patients understand their imaging results, but can improve public awareness of the specialty.

That was the finding of a study published recently in the American Journal of Roentgenology, which surveyed some 70 parents of pediatric patients who met with a radiologist about their child’s imaging.

Survey results showed the vast majority (91 percent) found the visit to be so helpful, they’d like a radiologist consultation every visit. Anxiety scores also fell after talking with radiologists.

Moreover, while the study population already had a decent understanding of the radiologist’s role with 68 percent correctly describing it, that understanding only grew with the consultation. A total of 88 percent correctly described the radiologist’s role after the meeting.

Consulting with patients is, of course, easier said than done. There are only so many hours in the day and radiologists are already very busy, plus reimbursement is lacking for such duties.

Still, some sites are trying, such as Massachusetts General Hospital, where radiology residents are rounding with primary care physicians to consult with patients about imaging.

Others would be wise to watch and learn from Mass General and other sites pioneering such radiologist-patient consultations.

-Evan Godt
Editorial Director