Disclosure of Imaging Findings to Patients Directly by Radiologists: Survey of Patients' Preferences
Schreiber, Melvyn H.
Rieniets, Cynthia Youmans
American Journal of Roentgenology. 1995 Aug; 165(2): 467-469.
OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to determine if patients prefer to have radiologists tell them imaging findings immediately after the examination or if they prefer to hear the results later from their referring physician. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. A simple questionnaire was devised and distributed to 261 consecutive patients in the radiology department of a large university hospital. During a 10-day period, patients seen in several departmental sections (gastrointestinal, genitourinary, CT, sonography, mammography, chest, musculoskeletal) completed the questionnaire. Patients were asked if they wanted the radiologist to tell them if the results were normal; if the results were abnormal; if they would prefer to hear the results from their family doctor, internist, or other primary care provider; and if they felt entitled to an explanation of their test results. Results were tabulated and expressed as percentages. RESULTS. Analysis of the 261 questionnaires disclosed that 92% of patients wanted the radiologist to tell them if the results are normal. An additional 7% answered "Yes, but only if I ask." If the results are abnormal (cancer, for example), 87% wanted the radiologist to tell them. An additional 7% answered "Yes, but only if I ask." CONCLUSION. Our results show that most patients prefer to hear the results of imaging examinations from the radiologist at the time of the procedure rather than to hear them later from the referring physician, regardless of the findings.
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