October 30, 2017 --
The turnaround time for radiology results is a multispecialty problem involving radiologists and referring providers, according to senior study author Dr. Matthew Davenport of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The goal is timely receipt of imaging results by the ordering provider and patient, but there is tension between these two parties; patients want results quickly, while referring providers want some control over how those results are presented to the patient, he said.
Little is known, though, about patient expectations for receiving imaging results and perceptions about waiting for those results, Davenport said.
"As administrators weigh the challenges and goals of this problem, it would be useful to know the patient's perspective for receiving results, the emotional disutility of waiting on those results, and the preferred methods of result communication," he told AuntMinnie.com.
The researchers surveyed outpatients receiving imaging tests to learn about their expectations for getting the reports. They found that patients expected to receive their findings within one to three days after the test, and they will call their provider after one to five days if they haven't received the results.
"These data can inform policies designed to optimize provider-to-patient communication," Davenport said.
Patients also reported emotional harms from waiting on diagnostic radiology test results; 45% said that waiting on a result induces a change in their emotional state, while 20% said that waiting produces a negative state of mind. In addition, 38% indicated that waiting creates anxiety, said presenter Dr. Sean Woolen.
In addition, the group found that -- all things being equal -- patients refer to receive results from their primary care provider.
"However, they are also not opposed to receiving results from their radiologist," Woolen said.