How soon do women want to know their mammogram results?

Most women are willing to wait for their screening mammogram results after the exam or receive their test results within 48 hours, according to new research published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.  

Researchers led by Biren A. Shah, MD, a radiologist at the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System in Richmond, Virginia, also found from survey responses from 2,245 screening mammography patients 18 years and older that most (85.4 percent) preferred to receive abnormal screening mammogram results on a Friday—even if they couldn’t come in for a diagnostic workup until the following week.  

In terms of follow-up appointments, most women preferred to schedule them soon after their initial appointment—either the next day or within the next one to two days.  

Patient responses for preferred wait time, however, varied. Black patients were most likely to prefer to receive their results within 24 hours, and white patients were willing to wait for their results at the time of their appointment, according to the researchers.  

Additionally, more than half of all participants preferred to be contacted over the phone about their screening mammogram results and preferred email as the last contact method. 

As patient-centered care gains more recognition in radiology, the researchers noted that trying to meet such service demands from patients will only enhance patient care and satisfaction as well as radiologists’ work efficiency.  

“Improving the patient experience requires understanding the needs of the patient to provide the care that patients value most,” Shah et al. wrote. “Breast imaging radiologists are well suited to doing this and can play a vital role as health care initiators rather than just as image interpreters by communicating face-to-face with patients and becoming active participants in the patient care team.”