Adding physicians’ phone numbers to radiology reports bolsters patient contact, job satisfaction

Adding physicians’ contact information to their radiology reports can help bolster both their interaction with patients and overall job satisfaction.

That’s according to the results of a recent survey conducted at one private Colorado imaging practice, highlighted Wednesday in the American Journal of Roentgenology. In the small survey, researchers noted that about 56% reported an increase in patient contact. And yet, only 2% of those quizzed said it interrupted their normal duties, with many labeling it as “satisfying.”  

“Despite an increase in interactions, most radiologists reported little if any workflow impediment as a result of interacting with patients,” concluded lead author Jennifer Kemp, MD, VP of Diversified Radiology in Denver, and colleagues. “A radiologist's fears of not having time for patient interaction and of upsetting referring physicians were not supported by the present study,” they added later.

To make their determination, Kemp et al. conducted a prospective, nonrandomized survey of 61 radiologists during the summer of 2019. The 21-question survey was administered online and distributed through email.

More than 50 of the respondents said they include their digits in reports 75% of the time. Of those, 36% said patients contacted them about once a year, while 27% said calls came in about once a month.

Out of the 41 radiologists who offered their phone numbers three-quarters of the time, more than half said patient interaction went up. Typical reasons for the calls included wanting to better understand the results, expressing gratitude, or pointing out mistakes. And only one of the 41 physicians said they ever received a complaint.

“We encourage radiology groups around the country to consider including radiologist contact information in radiology reports on the basis of the positive experiences of our private practice group,” Kemp and colleagues urged.

You can read more of the analysis in AJR here.