October 30, 2017 --
Patients increasingly have access to their own radiology reports -- especially via online patient portals from their healthcare institutions -- but these reports are full of jargon and difficult to understand for those without a medical background, said Brianna Vey, a fourth-year medical student at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
"We wanted to determine a way to both decrease patient anxiety around radiology report results and ensure that patients have the capability to follow up on their own results -- now that they have access," Vey said.
Vey and colleagues sought to assess the reading level of radiology reports and develop a patient-friendly report text -- at a middle-school reading level -- that could be added to reports to give patients direction in plain language on what they need to do next. This could include information such as if they need to follow up with their primary care doctor, or if this long report just details normal and incidental findings that don't require additional action, Vey said.
The researchers then surveyed patients to assess the usefulness of this addition. Overwhelmingly, patients appreciated having plain-language guidance on whether follow-up was required, Vey said.
"This guidance could decrease patient anxiety, while also minimizing communication gaps between healthcare providers regarding results requiring follow-up," she told AuntMinnie.com.
You can follow up yourself by visiting the poster on Tuesday at the Lakeside Learning Center.