The need for speed: Parents of young patients want imaging results right away

Most parents of pediatric patients undergoing imaging examinations want those results as quickly as possible, even if it means not discussing them in person with a physician, according to new findings published in Academic Radiology.

The authors surveyed parents about their preferences at an academic children’s hospital on 20 different days over a four-month period. Survey participation was voluntary, answers were anonymous and there were a total of nine questions listed.

“While patient preferences regarding how they receive the results of their radiology examinations have been assessed in the adult population, there is limited data on parent preferences for pediatric radiology patients,” wrote Emily A. Edwards, MD, University of California San Francisco, and colleagues. “The aim of this study was to determine how the parents of pediatric radiology patients prefer to receive the results of their child's imaging studies.”

Overall, the authors found, 53.4% of respondents said that they currently receive results with 24 hours of the examination. While 36% reported receiving results in person, another 24% receive them via phone or email.

Also, 37.6% of respondents say the single most important thing about receiving imaging results is that they arrive as quickly as possible. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said the physician receiving the results is the most important thing, and 24.8% said it was discussing the results with a doctor in person.

When parents were asked specifically how they would most prefer to receive imaging results, the most common answer (37.4%) was that they want to discuss the results with their child’s doctor in person. Other popular answers were discussing with the doctor on the telephone or email (26%) and discussing with the radiologist in person (16%).

Edwards et al. did note that the 16% wanting to discuss imaging results with a radiologist, along with other findings, suggests that radiologists can provide value by playing a more active role in patient care.

“This aligns with previous literature revealing that some patients do value discussing imaging test results with a radiologist,” the authors wrote.