Support Tests.

Elias Peter pheski69 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 26 03:23:49 UTC 2016

I addressed my concerns to the radiologists and pathologists, not the hospital. They agreed that changes were needed, did not always agree on what changes were needed, and most were willing to try things to see what did and didn’t help.

The administrative structure was not impressed with the clinical request that we expend some of the institutions resources (time, IT work, communication system to discuss what we were doing) and the requests eventually died out. 

I understand the concern that clinical information might bias a radiologist’s reading. The same thing could be said about the patient history biasing my exam, test ordering, assessment or plan.  The purpose of information is to point us in some direction. The solution to this is NOT to hide clinical information from the radiologist/pathologist (or the patient) but to make as much information available to as many people on the team as possible.

Peter Elias

> On 2016.01.25, at 9:08 PM, Stefanie Lee <stefanieylee at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Part of the issue is framing (addressed in the recent IOM report) -
> the view of the diagnostic specialties as provider of test results,
> which are then used by the primary physician to diagnose the patient -
> versus the pathologist or radiologist as being integrated into the
> ongoing discussion and diagnostic process.
> Communication is essential to safe patient care. As more than one
> scenario can have the same imaging appearance, it is the clinical
> information that allows the radiologist to form an educated opinion as
> to what the significance of the finding is (and avoid the dreaded
> 'cannot exclude'!)
> Rim-enhancing collection with gas bubbles in the surgical bed - an
> abscess that needs to be drained, right? Not if Surgicel had been used
> during the operation (a hemostatic agent that has a very similar
> imaging appearance).
> Given a CT or MRI which may have numerous abnormal findings in its
> hundreds/thousands of images, the diagnostic process of putting all
> the findings together to form an interpretation / hypothesis about
> what is going on is not really all that different from other fields in
> medicine.
> Sometimes referring physicians are concerned about 'biasing' the
> radiologist with clinical information, but providing less information
> is unlikely to help improve accuracy - better communication will. If
> anything in the report doesn't fit - pick up the phone or send an
> email/fax for a second look!
> As another example, consolidation on a chest radiograph is a
> nonspecific finding that very frequently represents pneumonia and is
> reported as such, but if this is a chronic process (especially if the
> patient has weight loss without signs of infection), it could very
> well be cancer.
> Agree that providing patients access to test reports will help reduce
> findings falling through the cracks. I read about patient portals on a
> regular basis - how commonly are they used today?
> Another area for improvement is to improve the ease/frequency with
> which diagnostic specialists and office-based physicians communicate
> with each other (e.g. direct phone lines).
> Multidisciplinary rounds and discussions with referring physicians who
> drop by the reading room are very helpful in clearing up diagnostic
> conundrums - however, this mostly happens in the hospital setting.
> (cannot tell from Dr. Elias' post if he conveyed his concerns about
> the reports to the hospital or spoke with the radiologist directly - I
> hope improving communication would be a goal of all involved in
> patient care, for many obvious reasons)
> On 24 January 2016 at 16:55, robert bell
> <0000000296e45ec4-dmarc-request at> wrote:
>> I have suggested that at the same time, or even before we tackle Errors in
>> Diagnosis, we see that all our support diagnostic tests (Lab, X-ray, etc.)
>> are in good order so as to help make the correct diagnoses more often.
> Moderator: David Meyers, Board Member, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine
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Moderator: David Meyers, Board Member, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine

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