Can modifications to how medical imaging findings are reported improve quality of care? A systematic review

C. Farmer, A. Bourne, R. Haas, J. Wallis, D. O'Connor, R. Buchbinder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: To synthesise the available evidence about the effects of modifications to diagnostic imaging reports that aim to optimise patient care. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cochrane methods were used and CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and clinical trials registers were searched from inception to 31 March 2021. Randomised controlled trials of modifications to imaging reports aimed at optimising patient care for any condition were included. Two authors selected studies independently for inclusion, extracted data, assessed risk of bias, and judged certainty of evidence using GRADE. The primary outcome was quality of care (e.g., increased guideline-adherent care, reduced/increased imaging as appropriate). RESULTS: Five trials met eligibility criteria. One tested provision of information about appropriate osteoporosis treatment in bone density reports; two tested provision of criteria and treatment for heart failure in echocardiogram reports; one tested provision of reminders for when routine imaging is not needed in lumbar spine and knee radiography reports; and one tested inclusion of epidemiological data in lumbar spine imaging reports. All trials were susceptible to bias, and four did not blind all participants. Low certainty evidence from two trials found adding information about appropriate care may increase care quality compared to a standard report (RR 1.20 (95% CI 0.96 to 1.50), two trials, 1,548 participants, I2 = 49). This was supported by outcomes of two additional trials that also provided specific clinical guidance. CONCLUSIONS: The present review suggests that providing specific guidance on appropriate clinical intervention in imaging reports may improve patient care. Further high-quality trials are needed to confirm these findings. Prospective PROSPERO registration CRD42020153961.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-435
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Radiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

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