Study highlights the benefits of radiographer reporting
New research, published in the February issue of Radiography, provides evidence that radiographer reporting in A&E departments can cut costs, reduce treatment errors and improve doctor confidence.
In a randomised control trial, 1502 musculoskeletal (MSK) patients were divided into two groups – one with standardised (delayed) reports and ones with immediate reports provided by a radiographer.
The results showed that patients who received immediate reports had more accurate diagnoses, no recalls to A&E and more appropriate management by doctors. It estimated that immediate reporting saved an average of £23.70 per patient, which could lead to savings of £117 million across the NHS.
The study also compared the cost-savings to the investment needed to establish a new radiographer-led MSK reporting service, and found that employing six radiographers to report on 20,000 MSK examinations per year would generate annual savings of £200,000.
The research was conducted by Maryann Hardy PhD, Professor of Radiography and Imaging Practice Research and Director of Postgraduate Research at the School of Health Studies, University of Bradford; John Hutton, Professor of Health Economics at the University of York; and Beverly Snaith, Consultant Radiographer at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Maryann Hardy comments: "Improving radiography practices has a knock-on effect, not just in reducing costs but also improving quality throughout the hospital.
"This is not just about releasing radiologists, but also about using radiographers' skills differently and effectively to benefit the service – and this is the first study which has assessed immediate radiographer-led reporting and its impact on outside departments."