Could musculo-skeletal radiograph interpretation by radiographers be a source of support to Australian medical interns: A quantitative evaluation

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Abstract

Introduction: Public expectations regarding access to the emergency department (ED) challenges providers and policy makers with finite resources being stretched beyond capacity. To enable education of a greater numbers of doctors the format of the medical internship in Australia has changed and assumes that sufficient supervision is provided to interns to enable image interpretation skills development. Furthermore this assumes that appropriate foundational skills are established during undergraduate education. Methods: A mixed methods approach using a convenience, self selecting sample population of radiographers and final year medical students was adopted. The study measured the interpretive ability of final year medical students and radiographers in musculo-skeletal trauma (MSK) plain radiographic images. An image test bank based upon radiologist consensual agreement was corrected for prevalence and bias. Performance across a range of measurements was completed and compared for statistical significance using Mann-Whitney U. Results: Results were divided to enable analysis across age ranges and types of skeletal presentation. Radiographer performance was better numerically and demonstrated statistically significant difference in several areas. Conclusion: Radiographers have the knowledge base to assist junior doctors to clinically interpret the musculo-skeletal radiographic image. To meet the requirements of AMC and the Medical Board of Australia (MBA), a tailored clinically based educational system could be developed and provided by an accredited radiographer. Australian radiographers could also be employed to provide a safety net to avoid misinterpretation, such as seen in the UK commenting system, operating as an interprofessional team.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-329
Number of pages9
JournalRadiography
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Australian
  • Medical interns
  • Musculo-skeletal trauma
  • Radiographer reporting

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