Direct communication between radiologists and patients improves the quality of imaging reports

A. Gutzeit*, E. Sartoretti, C. Reisinger, J. Blautzik, S. Sartoretti-Schefer, S. Kos, A. Fischmann, R. Donners, D. Harder, M. Meissnitzer, K. Hergan, S. Largiader, R. Forstner, J.M. Froehlich, C. Reischauer, S. Matoori, D.M. Koh, T. Sartoretti

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objectives We investigate in what percentage of cases and to what extent radiological reports change when radiologists directly communicate with patients after imaging examinations. Methods One hundred twenty-two consecutive outpatients undergoing MRI examinations at a single center were prospectively included. Radiological reports of the patients were drafted by two radiologists in consensus using only the clinical information that was made available by the referring physicians. Thereafter, one radiologist talked directly with the patient and recorded the duration of the conversation. Afterwards, the additional information from the patient was used to reevaluate the imaging studies in consensus. The radiologists determined whether the radiological report changed based on additional information and, if yes, to what extent. The degree of change was graded on a 4-point Likert scale (1, non-relevant findings, to 4, highly relevant findings). Results Following direct communication (duration 170.9 +/- 53.9 s), the radiological reports of 52 patients (42.6%) were changed. Of the 52 patients, the degree of change was classified as grade 1 for 8 patients (15.4 %), grade 2 for 27 patients (51.9%), grade 3 for 13 patients (25%), and grade 4 for 4 patients (7.7%). The reasons leading to changes were missing clinical information in 50 cases (96.2%) and the lack of additional external imaging in 2 cases (3.8%). Conclusions Radiologists should be aware that a lack of accurate information from the clinician can lead to incorrect radiological reports or diagnosis. Radiologists should communicate directly with patients, especially when the provided information is unclear, as it may significantly alter the radiological report.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8725-8732
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number11
Early online date28 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Communication
  • Diagnostic test
  • routine
  • Radiologists
  • CT

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