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Survey Examines Perspective of PCPs on Radiology Reports

Primary care physicians feel medicolegally obligated to follow radiologist's recommendations

FRIDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Primary care physicians (PCPs) prefer to personally deliver the results of radiology examinations to patients and feel obligated to follow radiologist recommendations, although the wording and location of the recommendations affects their perception of medicolegal obligation, according to research published in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Andrew J. Gunn, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted an online survey of 229 PCPs in an effort to better understand their view of radiology reporting practices.

The researchers found that, out of 100 responses (43.6 percent), the majority were satisfied with radiology reporting and recommendations. The overwhelming majority of PCPs (95 percent) felt that the ordering physicians should deliver the results of the examination to the patient. None agreed that radiologists should deliver results directly to patients. Nearly all respondents felt medicolegally obligated to follow the recommendations made by radiologists. Setting the radiologist's recommendation apart from the clinical impression increased the need to follow the recommendation for about one-quarter of respondents, while nearly two-thirds of PCPs felt less need to follow the recommendation if qualifying language was added to the recommendation.

"Primary care physicians prefer to deliver the results of examinations themselves and feel medicolegally obligated by recommendations within radiology reports, even though this seems to be influenced by the wording and location of the recommendations within reports," the authors write. "Radiologists should consider these factors when contemplating changes in reporting practices."

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