November 13, 2019 --
Dr. David Tso, a clinical fellow in the division of emergency radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), is scheduled to present the results from this retrospective study that surveyed the frequency of x-rays performed on pediatric and adult patients presenting at one of 10 urgent care centers in the metropolitan Boston area.
From January 2019 to March 2019, approximately 3,300 patients (average age, 38.4 years; range, 1-103 years) visited the urgent care center; 61% of the patients were female. Emergency radiologists at MGH interpreted all the images. Tso and colleagues recorded the number of positive findings and radiologist recommendations and documented their verbal communications.
The researchers found that chest radiographs were the most commonly ordered study (37%), and positive findings were obtained in 16% of cases. Lower-extremity exams were the second most popular use for x-ray, at 30%, with positive findings in 27% of cases. Next up were upper-extremity radiographs, which accounted for 24% of exams with a positivity rate of 33%, and spine and rib imaging, at 7% of exams with a positivity rate of 16%.
The results provide "insight into the workflow of incorporating ambulatory care imaging within the context of an emergency department radiology practice" and could help optimize patient traffic and demand for urgent care services, Tso and colleagues concluded.