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Patients Prefer Results From the Ordering Provider and Access to Their Radiology Reports


© 2015 American College of Radiology. Purpose: Imaging results are generally communicated to patients by referring providers. Directly communicating results has been suggested as a way for radiologists to add value, though few studies have investigated patients' preferences in this regard. The aim of this study was to determine patients' preferences for receiving their imaging results. Methods: In this institutional review board-approved study, adult outpatients undergoing CT or MRI at an academic medical center and an affiliated county hospital over a 4-week period (n= 2,483) were surveyed. The survey assessed patients' preferred delivery method for radiology results and their understanding of radiologists' education and role. Results: A total of 617 surveys (25% response rate) were completed, 475 (77%) and 142 (23%) by academic medical center and county hospital patients, respectively. Among all respondents, the majority of patients (387 of 617 [63%]) preferred models of results delivery centered on the referring physician as opposed to the radiologist. Regardless of who verbally relayed the results, 64% of all respondents (398 of 617) wanted the option to receive a copy of the report, and 522 of 614 (85%) wanted to see their images. Among patients wanting copies of their reports, academic medical center patients expressed equal interest in mail, e-mail, and online portal options (33%, 31%, and 36%, respectively), and county hospital patients preferred mail (55%, 28%, and 17%, respectively) (P < .001). Conclusions: Patients prefer receiving their imaging results through their referring providers. Many patients would also like to view their images and receive copies of their reports, potential avenues through which radiologists could add value.

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