Radiologist – patient interaction

Radiologist – patient interaction

Ultrasonologists interact with their patients, which is why after a certain number of years, they can actually create a “direct” practice, without referrals.

For those who work with X-rays, CT scan, MRI and PET, the patient interaction, especially after the study is done and when it comes to communicating the report is very limited. Perhaps, the time has come to address this? To actually build in some consultation time if patients want to discuss the findings on their scans?


  1. radha narayanan says:

    Dear Bhavin Sir!
    You are right especially down south if a good lady sonologist is available ,patients prefer to get appointments on the day she is visiting the clinic,sadly same thing cannot be said of ct/mri/xrays.I feel group practice can to a certain extent solve these issues, which you have been stressing for somany years on,hence the better we subspecialise and give excellent reporting ,the better chances patients can walk in and demand so-and so needs to read my xray/ct etc..
    Another difficulty being in the so callled dianostic setups,ct/mri are done as walk-ins/pakage/cut from x—physician,so there is no history available (especially needed if the pt is ak/c/o lymphoma-pre, post chemo etc,,)
    third and the foremost one even if someone manages to build a good rapport at one centre,he/she may/may not continue there for so many reasons-then that patient base remains lost!!

    • I agree Radha but some rapport with patients always helps irrespective of where you are.

      • It is important for radiologists to become a more visible part of a patient’s care – this trend is now catching up in western countries.

        Practical implementation of Radiologist consultation in a smaller Radiology clinic in Kemp and a very large practice like Massachusetts General Hospital have found a dedicated Radiologist consultation is helpful for Physician and Patients as well.

        Please read this article from Diagnostic Imaging for more information.

      • radha narayanan says:

        I always speak/like to speak to the patients instead of being a faceless doctor that many of our fraternity like to do in the guise of being a busy doctor/trying to act serious/I;M MD —–years kind of looks.One thing history patient is better ,referring doctor writes Tb -dont know whether on att/h.o past tb….prefer to speak to all my patients, which happens in ultrasound only bcoz rMRI/CT are done already patient has left and in all possibility may not turn up for report since reports arebeing couriered /home delivered now a days!!!!

    • Forget about talking with patient. ..PET CT reporting rad has not seen the CT scan images of PETCT..
      Few months back , a 65 year old gentleman was being investigated for bone mets with unknown primary… He had done PETCT just 1 week ago in well known center.. ..But clinician was not convinced with PET CT report.. He advised repeat CT scan of abdomen .. Patient had come to us.. . I was astonished to see large mass (7cm) in the urinary bladder , which was missed in PET CT report by big name in radiology. ….I asked for PET CT images… The mass was clearly seen in the bladder…. The PET CT rad has not seen the CT part of PETCT at all

      • Ram. Even the best and most careful radiologists miss lesions once in a while. Did you try and call the “big name” and tell him about the issue?

  2. Abdullah Parkar says:

    Yes sir, time has now come to seriously think about it…patient interaction is seriously missed in our field

  3. Abdullah Parkar says:

    one thing that has come in my mind is while issuing final reports of certain patients say 1 in 5 scans we can talk to the patients and narrow our differrentials.This can be achieved by keeping fixed hours in a day say one hour for consultation of selected patients. These selected patients include 1)those with inadequate prior history 2) adviice regarding some other better radiological modality(eg. simple cyst on ultrasound versus hypodense on ct etc) or guided biopsy
    I feel during this one hour of additional consultation a lot of mistakes can be avoided which include mistakes by eminent and experienced radiologist.
    follow up of such patients would thus be much easier too..

    • I agree. The concept of a radiology OPD is really worth exploring.

      • anup sadhu says:

        I agree fully that a d ialogue with the pt is important
        This helps you not to foget the clinics part more important clues are found to arrive at a diagnosis
        the pt also gets confidence

  4. Ravi Ramakantan says:

    I do not do Sonography at all and I still talk to patients – all the time -..even about a lowly bone x ray –
    What is the problem. Do not write the report. Just say “I want to see the patient”. there is noting that the referring doctor can do but to send the patient to you – that is – if he believes that you add value.
    Today I spent all of 30 mins about an “osteolytic lesion” in the humerus in a three old when CT and MR had all give DDs longer than Hanuman’s tail. No one mentioned the history of trauma that the child had had .. no one had been told by the mother of a chest x ray one year back that showed the same lesion in the humerus.. everything changes if you talk to the patient. And when they left, they actually asked “Doctor what about your fees. > It won’t be RS. 12 for reporting plain x ray. Add value to patient care and you will become valuable…!

    But, how do you add value .. when you trained as a spotter?
    You cannot – simply cannot.
    So what has to change is our exam – Some 30 years ago, I said “Stop the Spot”. I am saying that gain now. Spots serve NO PURPOSE in patient care.
    Change the way radiologists train , change the way they think… then.. everything else will fall in place.

    • Sir that was great piece of advice…so nice to share all that

    • Dr.Shephy.K.U says:

      i started reading this blog recently only. going through old posts.
      such a nice piece of advice i have never come across.
      i am also a slow learner, didn’t ever come in terms with spotters …..
      But our system will never change sir unless some body have the strong will to change it…

  5. Bala Subramanian says:

    Ravi Ramakantan sirs replyis always awesome
    great teacher


  1. […] A good radiologist has the ability to deliver results accurately and in a timely manner. Dr. Woodcock in a short article distils this into the three “A”s of Affability, Availability and Accuracy. The Royal College of Radiology has specific guidelines. It also means not shying away from leadership positions in hospitals and practices and actual patient consultations. […]

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