Errors in Medical Imaging and Radiography Practice: A Systematic Review

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Background Errors in health care can harm patients and undermine public trust, yet many are preventable. In medical imaging and radiography, errors can cause increased radiation dose, misdiagnosis, and clinical mismanagement. Aim The purpose of this review was to identify the type and prevalence of errors directly associated with radiography practice and the imaging cycle, with a view to developing recommendations to reduce common errors. Method A systematic review was undertaken of current literature obtained through the Ovid Medline and PubMed databases. A total of 41 useable articles were analysed into a priori categories of the medical imaging cycle: preprocedural, procedural, and postprocedural. Findings This review found that errors may occur during any phase of the cycle and that communication breakdown, especially during handover periods, was the main contributing factor to errors. Although the importance of incident reporting is well recognised, feedback to users is often limited. Conclusions A systematic approach to radiographic practice may assist in reducing communication-related errors. Future research is required to determine how extending radiographers' roles or using electronic ordering systems could also help to reduce errors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-441
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • diagnostic errors
  • medical errors
  • Radiography

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