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Patients should see scans routinely - conference

Wednesday June 12th, 2019

It should become routine practice for patients to see their medical scans, a conference will hear today.

Although this is popular with patients when surveyed, with 94% of patients wanting access to their medical scans, radiologists have concerns that they could be misinterpreted.

A survey, carried out by Dr William Cox of Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues, found that 79% of doctors agreed that this is a good idea. However, the change would need to be handled with some care, doctors said.

To date, the NHS has been more cautious about showing patients their scans, but the researchers say the 2018 Data Protection Act has “changed the emphasis” to greater openness.

Dr Cox is presenting the work at the UK Imaging & Oncology Congress held in Liverpool from 10-12 June.

His team surveyed 121 clinicians and 282 lay respondents and found: “Almost all lay people were in favour of sharing this information, with 90% saying it would help them understand the results.

“Clinicians were more cautious than patients, but I was still surprised at their level of support for sharing material”.

The majority of experts (85%) and laypersons (74%) believed the move would allow the patient to become more involved in their diagnosis and treatment.”

Dr Rizwan Malik of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust commented: “To avoid misinterpretation, stress and anxiety, we need to ensure that clinicians have the time to explain the images to the patient, and in the present-day NHS time is in short supply.

“It’s good to know that most clinicians are behind the initiative, but we need to have the resources to make sure it benefits rather than worries the patient”.

Abstract ‘Clinical and lay attitudes towards sharing images with patients: a quantitative analysis’ presented at the UK Imaging & Oncology Congress, Liverpool 10-12 June 2019

Tags: Internal Medicine | NHS | UK News

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