Patient Education About Radiology Information Systems Critical To Patient-Centric Care


Radiologist Sharing Medical Imaging With Femaie PatientA modern radiology information system manages medical images and patient radiological data and is designed to help deliver patient-centered care. With a radiology information system, radiologists have all the patient information at their fingertips. Yet still, many patients remain in the dark about what a radiologist actually does.

About half of the general public does not know that radiologists are physicians, according to Peter D. Miller, M.D., radiology resident at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. Dr. Miller helped spearhead a new study, presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), which shows that even patients who’ve had medical imaging exams in the past know little about the profession.

Surveying 307 patients, Dr. Miller and his colleagues focused on patients undergoing outpatient CT at the university hospital. While nearly 83 percent stated that it was important to know who interprets their imaging exams, over 64 percent of respondents reported that they had little or no idea what radiologists do.

An Opportunity to Engage Patients

“We need to better understand what patients want to know about radiologists in order to improve service and patient care,” Dr. Miller said. “In my experience, people who’ve had the opportunity to interact with radiologists appreciated the chance to talk with them and get their thoughts on the imaging results.”

Engaging patients and their families in the care process is a vital and necessary component of stage one meaningful use. Patient-centered Radiology, the theme of last year’s RSNA conference, calls for radiologists to play a more active role in patient care. At the Opening Session of the conference, the 2012 RSNA President, George S. Bissett III, MD, urged radiologists to become more visible to patients by meeting them in the waiting room to discuss their condition.

Ultimately, it is this engagement that will help both the radiologist and the patient move into a new world of patient-centered care.

How have you helped to engage your patients in the radiology process?  I encourage you to share your comments below.

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