Physicians concerned about patient access to imaging

May 7, 2010

Physicians have concerns about whether providing patients with direct access to imaging tests could lead to patient anxiety and unrealistic demands on physician time, according to a published study.

Physicians are concerned that providing patients with direct access to their imaging test could lead to increased patient anxiety and unrealistic demands on physician time, according to a study in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

The study, performed at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, looked at the possibility of radiologists using the Internet to send imaging results directly to patients. Eight radiologists and seven referring physicians participated in the study, which was made up of two focus groups.

Radiologists and referring physicians agreed that there are some potential benefits of an online system for patient access, including increased patient satisfaction and the ability to direct patients to educational material. However, physicians were concerned patients wouldn't understand written reports and might be anxious if they did not have prompt access to a physician to assist them in understanding the results.