22% of patients don't receive info before imaging exams

A survey recently published in Radiology has found that 22 percent of patients and caregivers are not receiving explanatory information prior to undergoing imaging exams. Researchers from the department of radiology and biomedical imaging at Yale University School of Medicine explained that these results highlight the need for improvement in patient engagement and awareness before imaging exams.  

Specifically, the researchers wanted to identify from whom patients prefer to receive imaging information. They also sought what kind of information patients and caregivers find useful before undergoing their exam  

"Identification of what information patients want before their imaging examination, from whom they want information, and how preferences differ based on demographics, prior radiologic examinations, and role (patient vs parent or caregiver of patient) is critical to the successful implementation of a patient-centered practice that focuses on the patient from the time an imaging examination request is placed through communication of the radiologist’s report," said lead author Jay K. Pahade, MD, from Yale University School of Medicine, and colleagues.  

Pahade and his colleagues distributed a 24-question survey to three pediatric and three adult hospitals across the U.S. between January and May 2015. Survey questions asked for participant demographics, preferences for receiving information and rating the importance of information before imaging exams.  

Of the 1,542 returned surveys, 22 percent reported receiving no information about their examination from the ordering provider, with a mean respondent age of 46 and mostly female.  

"These results show that what we as radiologists think patients value is not necessarily what they actually value," Pahade said in a statement. "In the radiology realm, we need to take more ownership over the entire imaging process; one big gap has been in the pre-imaging part of that process and the data show we have work to do in closing that gap." 

Most survey respondents, whether they reported receiving information prior to an imaging exam or not, preferred the ordering provider as the source of information, specifically examination preparation, according to study results. Additionally, half of all patients and caregivers sought information on their own.  

"At multivariate analysis, sex, race and years of education remained the only significant predictors of how respondents preferred to receive information," the authors added. "Receiving information via phone was favored most by both women (43 percent, 552 of 1275 selected methods of communication, with some respondents selecting multiple methods) and men (35 percent, 193 of 555 selected methods of communication)."