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Study finds patient-centered radiology approach still not reality

by John W. Mitchell , Senior Correspondent
A retrospective study of journal articles in the area of patient-centered radiology care reveals that while there is evidence that radiologists are thinking more about their care from a patient point-of-view, there's a lot of room for the specialty to evolve.

"There are opportunities for radiology to widen the scope of patient-centered activities within the specialty," Dr. Andrew Rosenkrantz, associate professor and director of health policy in the Department of Radiology at NYU Langone Medical Center, told HCB News. "Patient-centered care is an important paradigm for improving care. It recognizes and respects patients as individuals, and focuses caregivers' efforts on outcomes that patients and their families find most impactful."

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The study, which was supported with a grant from the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, was just published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Researchers found a total of 115 articles in radiology journals in an online search. The bulk of the discovered articles were published from 2013 to 2015, suggesting that the interest in patient-centered care in the radiology specialty is a recent trend. Overall, 40 original research articles were found.

“We found that the most common themes of those 40 articles were optimization of patients’ access to reports and images, patients’ experience in undergoing the examination, image evaluation, and radiologists meeting with patients,” said Rosenkrantz.

He added that some of the articles were less clearly related to patient-centered care and more closely associated with examination interpretation.

According to Rosenkrantz, radiology departments across the country typically have some work to do on this front. But some departments are starting to evolve to a more patient-centered culture.

For example, one department routinely includes patients in designing new imaging suites when purchasing new equipment, to ensure that the new design provides as positive a patient experience as possible. Another department has developed a system that provides patients with definitions, diagrams, hyperlinks, and other content to help patients understand their reports when accessing them through portals.

The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute studies the role and value of radiology and radiologists in evolving health care delivery and payment systems. It also supports better understanding of the overall impact of medical imaging on the cost, quality, safety and efficiency of health care.

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