In line with the shift from a volume- to a value-based system, radiologists are keen to have a more active role in patient care, despite constraints of time and workload, according to a new study published in the journal Radiology.
Communication between patients and radiologists is a key element of patient-centred care, which focuses on the patient’s needs and preferences. Engaging with patients via social media and moving radiology reading rooms into the clinic present opportunities to help bridge the divide between radiologists and patients, researchers said.
“Patient-centred radiology is a lot more than giving results to patients,” explains study lead author Jennifer L. Kemp, MD, from Diversified Radiology in Denver, Colo. “There are many other things we can do within the continuum of patient care, from scheduling all the way through billing, to improve the patient’s experience."
In the radiology suite, a discussion of the appropriateness of the test, an explanation of the exam from the technologist and user-friendly radiology reports are key parts of this care continuum, Dr. Kemp adds.
Dr. Kemp and colleagues from the RSNA Patient-Centred Radiology Steering Committee surveyed RSNA members on various aspects of patient-centred radiology. Of the 694 respondents, 611 (or 89 percent) agreed that promoting awareness of radiology’s role in patients’ overall healthcare is important to how they practice. However, only 31 percent of radiology practices regularly promote awareness of radiology’s role in patients’ overall healthcare. Only 21 percent of respondents said their radiology practices commonly deliver imaging results to patients in person.
The survey also found that time and/or workload frequently prevented the majority of respondents (73 percent) from communicating directly with patients, which potentially hampers both optimal patient-centred care and radiologist satisfaction.
As Dr. Kemp noted, busy radiology practices could tap social media to direct communication with patients. These days many patients get a lot of their medical information through social media.
In addition, moving radiology reading rooms into patient clinics can help radiologists to become more integrated into clinical practice settings. Studies have shown that this change helps improve patient-radiologist communication.
Source: Radiological Society of North America
Image Credit: RSNA