Speed Reading Causes Errors



August 2015

Which is better: quickly turned out reports or more thorough slow readings? A recent article in the JACR® has added to the debate. According to the article, when radiologists increase their image reporting speeds, they increase the likelihood of significant misses and mistakes.

Lead author Evgeniya Sokolovskaya, MD, and her colleagues at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J., gave five attending radiologists randomly assigned sets of 12 abdomen-pelvis CT scans. While the radiologists read these scans, researchers determined their average reading times. Then the researchers gave the radiologists a new set of images and asked them to read at twice their normal speed. During the faster reading, radiologists missed 16 out 60 major findings (compared to six out of 60 at their normal speed).
“The findings of our study suggest that the speed of radiology interpretations may have a strong impact on the quality of patient care,” wrote the authors. Their findings were concerning, as they noted a surge in the number of radiology groups in which reimbursement is directly tied to the number of cases read. 

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