The fate of radiology report recommendations at a pediatric medical center
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The American College of Radiology (ACR) practice parameters for communication dictate that follow-up recommendations be suggested when appropriate. Radiologists assume that referring physicians read their reports and heed their advice. In reality, recommendations might not be carried out or even acknowledged.
We aimed to determine the proportion of imaging recommendations that are acknowledged and acted upon.
Materials and methods
We conducted a retrospective review of all consecutive radiology reports containing “recommend” in the impression at a single academic children’s hospital over a 1-month period. We documented point of care (emergency department, inpatient, outpatient), study type, recommendation wording, and communication method (report only or direct verbal). We reviewed medical records to ascertain whether the recommendations were acknowledged or executed. We used chi-square tests to evaluate associations between variables. P<0.05 was considered significant.
We reviewed 526 reports and excluded 73. We included the remaining 453 reports, from 370 unique patients (201 male, 169 female). Inpatients comprised most reports (n=223), followed by emergency department (ED) patients (n=118) and outpatients (n=112). Among these reports, 69% (n=313) of recommendations were executed. Of the 140 recommendations not carried out, 14% were acknowledged in clinical notes. Compliance correlated with point of care (ED>inpatient>outpatient; P=0.001) but not with additional verbal communication (P=0.33), study type (radiograph vs. other; P=0.35) or type of follow-up recommendation (follow-up imaging vs. other; P=0.99).
Nearly one-third of radiology report follow-up recommendations are not executed. Recommendations are most commonly neglected for outpatient imaging reports. The radiology community should take steps to improve recommendation adherence.
KeywordsChildren Follow-up Radiology Recommendations Reporting
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
- 4.American College of Radiology (2014) ACR practice parameter for communication of diagnostic imaging findings. Resolution 11. https://www.acr.org/~/media/C5D1443C9EA4424AA12477D1AD1D927D.pdf. Accessed 19 July 2017