More than half of patients who undergo diagnostic imaging feel anxious: survey

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | November 12, 2018
CT MRI X-Ray
More than half of patients feel anxious
when undergoing diagnostic imaging,
according to a new survey
More than half of patients experience anxiety when undergoing diagnostic imaging procedures.

That’s the claim made by Bayer in its 2018 international radiology patient survey on experiences during MR and CT procedures. Out of 1,085 participants across seven countries, 55 percent indicated being anxious despite the majority feeling informed leading up to an exam and overall satisfied following its completion.

"There are many reasons that patients may experience anxiety, including concerns about unpleasant results, fears about the exam itself and cost concerns. As physicians, we need to be aware of these issues and create an environment that addresses their concerns," Rich Heller, national director of pediatric radiology and VP of clinical services at Radiology Partners, told HCB News. "In fact, part of the Triple Aim of healthcare is the patient experience. This is consistent with the American College of Radiology’s (ACR) Imaging 3.0 program, where the value of radiology extends beyond simply medical image interpretation.

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Surveying 162 U.S. subjects, authors found the quality of the consultation with referring physicians, radiologists, radiology technicians or radiographers to be the most important factor among more than three quarters of participants, with close to one quarter asking for more face-to-face interactions to be implemented prior to exams.

This request for greater healthcare personnel interactions was further validated by the fact that only 18 percent took comfort in a computer interpreting their results rather than a healthcare provider. In addition, 15 percent requested more electronic support, such as a video of the procedure.

The findings reflect the need to ensure patients are properly prepared and comfortable prior to undergoing exams, as patient relaxation has been found to contribute to better image quality to aid in detection.

"In a time where information can be accessed anywhere and at any time, it is perhaps not surprising that patients are also wanting more information about their imaging procedure," Thomas Balzer, head of medical and clinical affairs for radiology at Bayer, told HCB News. "These results emphasize the role that education can play in ensuring patients feel both confident and reassured ahead of, during, and after their scan. At Bayer, we have developed support materials for both patients and radiologists with the goal of increasing this knowledge, to the benefit of all involved."

The survey was completed online by patients who underwent CT or MR scans within the last 12 months with or without contrast media. Participants hailed from the U.S. (162), Brazil (155), France (151), Italy (155), Germany (155), Japan (151), and South Korea (156).

The survey was conducted by Healthcare Research on behalf of Bayer.

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