Radiologists Talk Face-to-Face



Medical Imaging Talk, Face-to-Face

Just like talking with your neighbor over the fence, you build the best relationships face-to-face. Advancements in medical imaging technology, such as PACS, can minimize the face-to-face interaction between radiologists and referring physicians, according to a Health Imaging Hub article. However, a recent study demonstrated that communication between radiologists and clinicians was enhanced when using embedded reading rooms in their facilities.

Communication: The Closer the Better

While medical imaging technology facilitates communication within the radiology workflow, reading room proximity can enhance the role of radiologists as consultants. Research showed that referring clinicians had more visits to embedded reading rooms than to reading rooms located in another part of the facility. Observing 175 episodes of communication between radiologists and referring physicians (100 in embedded rooms and 75 in non-embedded rooms), researchers, led by Allison A. Tillack, PhD, of University of California, San Francisco, discovered a “highly significant difference in the percentage of visits and critical test result management messages sent between embedded and non-embedded reading rooms.”

“[The reading room] was a very collegial, friendly atmosphere,” Dr. Tillack said. “Orthopedic surgeons we talked to were excited about the convenience and said it was great to be able to drop by and look at a case with the radiologist without having to go downstairs.”


Comparing the face-to-face communication between radiologists and referring physicians, the study showed that in the embedded reading rooms, 46 percent were in person, while in the non-embedded reading rooms, just 7 percent were face-to-face.

“This could be the first quantitative study that shows radiologists integrate better with the remainder of our clinical colleagues if we are in a reading room that is embedded in their clinical service,” said James Borgstede, MD, vice-chair of the radiology department at the University of Colorado at Denver and Dr. Tillack’s scientific advisor and co-author of the study.

Clear Modes of Communication

As medical imaging technology becomes more integrated into everyday medical practice, the need for clear modes of communicating for medical imaging professionals is more pressing than ever. Acknowledging that the study was limited and further research in the area was needed, the researchers asserted that embedding improves communications while raising the profile of radiologists within their work environments.

“The important thing is that the concept is out there,” Dr. Borgstede said. “We’re in a different era than a generation ago when clinicians came to radiologists to look at film studies that could only be viewed in one place at a time. Now that’s not true. It’s a new paradigm and if they aren’t going to come to us, we have to go to them.”

Does your healthcare organization support closed-loop communication? If so, what tools are you using and are they helping to improve the communication between radiologists and physicians?

Or are you looking for a system to support improved communication, reporting and analytics?  Ask one of our product specialists about QICS™ for radiology.

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