The study findings suggest there's more work to be done to improve communication between radiologists and patients, wrote a team led by Dr. Biren Shah of Virginia Commonwealth University Health System in Richmond.
"Most patients want their imaging results as soon as possible, often immediately after the imaging study," the group wrote. "Unfortunately, results are not always promptly communicated to patients by referring physicians."
Shah and colleagues conducted a survey that included 2,245 women to gauge their preference for the optimal wait time for receiving screening mammogram results. The researchers also asked how important prompt communication of mammogram results was to patients, how quickly patients wanted follow-up appointments scheduled after abnormal screening mammograms, and how patients wanted to receive their screening mammogram results.
More than 70% of women wanted their screening mammography results within 48 hours, the researchers found. In addition, most women preferred to schedule follow-up appointments within one to two days, and more than half of the study participants preferred to be contacted with exam results via a telephone call; a letter and text messaging were the next most preferred methods, while email was the least preferred.
"The importance of patient-centered care is gaining recognition in radiology, and breast imaging radiologists are well-positioned to play a vital role in improving the patient experience. ... The time it takes to receive screening mammogram results, the method in which results are communicated, and the availability to come in for a follow-up appointment if a screening mammogram is abnormal are just some of the factors that can influence a patient's perception of better care being provided and patient loyalty," the group wrote.
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