Multicenter survey clarifying phrases in emergency radiology reports

Makoto Ogawa, Cheng Han Lee, Barak Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Interactions between radiologists and emergency physicians are often diminished as imaging volume increases and more radiologists read off site. We explore how several commonly used phrasings are perceived by radiologists and emergency physicians to decrease ambiguity in reporting. Methods: An anonymous survey was distributed to attendings and residents at seven academic radiology and emergency departments across the USA via a digital platform as well as to an email group consisting of radiologists across the country with an interest in quality assurance. Physicians were asked to assign a percent score to probabilistic phrases such as, “suspicious of,” or “concerned for.” Additional questions including, “how often the report findings are reviewed,” “what makes a good radiology report,” and “when is it useful to use the phrase ‘clinical correlation are recommended.’” Median scores and confidence intervals were compared using an independent Student’s T-test. Results: Generally, there was agreement between radiologists and emergency room physicians in how they interpret probabilistic phrases except for the phrases, “compatible with,” and “subcentimeter liver lesions too small to characterize.” Radiologists consider a useful report to answer the clinical question, be concise, and well organized. Emergency physicians consider a useful report to be concise, definitive or include a differential diagnosis, answer the clinical question, and recommend a next step. Radiologists and emergency physicians did not agree on the usefulness of the phrase, “clinical correlation recommended,” in which radiologists found the phrase more helpful under particular circumstances. Conclusion: The survey demonstrated a wide range of answers for probabilistic phrases for both radiologists and emergency physicians. While the medians and means of the two groups were often different by statistical significance, the actual percent difference was minor. These wide range of answers suggest that use of probabilistic phrases may sometimes lead to misinterpretation between radiologist and emergency room physician and should be avoided or defined if possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)855-862
Number of pages8
JournalEmergency Radiology
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Emergency
  • Probabilistic phrases
  • Radiology reports

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