Accessible Imaging Exam Information Linked to Patient Satisfaction

Patients Want More

When it comes to medical imaging examinations, are patients getting the information they should be? According to an online study in the journal Radiology, only 78% of patients reported receiving information about their examination.

“This means one in five people are showing up for the exam without any information about the test they are getting,”

Jay K. Pahade, M.D., associate professor of radiology at the Yale School of Medicine

More importantly, the study showed that there was a contradiction between the information patients received and what patients actually wanted to know. Over half of the patients in the study ended up seeking information on their own.

“Our study found that patients value basic information related to the test more than information related to the radiation dose…”

Jay K. Pahade, M.D.

Patient care in radiology typically focuses on communication of test results, which occurs after the imaging exam. But what about the patient experience before the imaging exam? Radiology professionals need to address these gaps by taking a look at the patient’s entire journey from an imaging perspective. Patients who do not have sufficient information going into an exam tend to experience higher rates of anxiety, negatively impacting the patient experience and overall satisfaction.

 

Seeing the Light

As healthcare shifts to an era of patient-centered care, medical imaging professionals need to adopt this way of thinking to better interact and understand their patient’s needs. Imaging leaders need to work closely with referring physicians to educate patients at the time of their appointment to ensure the patient is well informed prior to the scan. There are many different tools referring physicians can use to improve patient education, ranging from paper handouts to digital technology. It’s important to put strategies in place to satisfy patient demands when it comes to providing relevant information before and after imaging exams.

 

Ways to Improve

Connecting patients with already existing resources is an easy and cost-effective strategy to ensure that they are well informed. Providers can include not only date and time in appointment reminders, but also links to medical imaging sites with pertinent information about their exam.

Additionally, imaging providers can leverage technology by offering a patient portal. This strategy allows patients access to their lab results, medical histories, treatment options and an excess of other health information.

Additionally, imaging providers can leverage technology by offering a patient portal. This strategy allows patients access to their lab results, medical histories, treatment options and an excess of other health information.

Last, imaging leaders and referring physicians should work together to implement a philosophy of digitally sharing appointment notes with patients. This helps remind patients what was discussed during their appointment, boosting patient understanding of their own healthcare.

It is important for medical imaging providers to engage patients in conversations about education and access patient preferences. Providers must be mindful of what is important to the patient and deliver the appropriate information to satisfy that need. Patient-centered care strategies will continue to develop and evolve as patients become more educated and seek control of their own healthcare  – so, be sure your patient’s satisfaction is a top priority.