The Society of Radiographers has issued a position statement in conjunction with the Royal College of Radiologists outlining its views on patient access to imaging reports.
“From November 1st, patients will have access to all medical data through the NHS App. Organisations need to have systems in place to help patients access their data, in particular their radiology reports. Imaging reports are constructed to give clinical teams actionable information to help with the clinical management of their patients. Thought also needs to be given as to how these reports are constructed in the future to ensure clear accurate information is conveyed to clinical colleagues but also with consideration that these will be read by patients.
“In addition, while it is welcomed that patients will have rapid access to their imaging reports it is vital that resources are put in place to ensure that all patients have had a chance formally to discuss imaging findings with a member of the clinical team before they can see their report online. This is particularly true for patients with cancer and other urgent findings as set out in Recommendations on alerts and notification of imaging reports.
“Radiology departments are not currently equipped to deal with a large volume of patient enquiries related to the content of imaging reports. Healthcare organisations should have systems in place to allow sensitive discussions of imaging reports with appropriate members of the clinical teams.”
Charlotte Beardmore, the SoR’s executive director of professional policy, welcomed the move but called for resources to enable effective interaction between patients and clinicians.
“We welcome the decision by government to support patients being able to access their medical data. However , if this is to work well for everyone, investment is essential in order to enable patients to discuss the results with a health professional, in a timely way. We will continue to call on government to support investment in workforce and infrastructure,” she said.
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