It’s an ongoing debate in the imaging community: Who should communicate what results and how detailed should these results be? Now patients are weighing in on the discussion. According to a study published in Radiology, a substantial gap exists between the information patients expect to receive and the items they are actually provided. Researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City surveyed individuals who had recently undergone imaging to determine how well they understood the risks and benefits of their tests. The study also measured patients’ expectations of how that information should be communicated.
While most participants were aware of the benefits of screening exams, few understood the potential radiation risks associated with the procedures. Additionally, the surveyed patients expressed a desire to know the rationale behind their tests and receive a more thorough explanation of the results. Patients also indicated that they currently research their questions through internet searches.