-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Including photos of
patients' faces with their X-ray images led to a fivefold decrease
in patient-identification errors, according to a new study.
Researchers asked 10 radiologists to look at 20 pairs of X-ray
images, with and without patient photos. There were two to four
mismatched pairs in each set of 20 pairs. Without patient photos,
the error detection rate was 13 percent; the rate improved to 64
percent when photos were included.
Some of the radiologists ignored the photos, however, because
they thought the objective of the experiment was to determine if
they would be distracted by photos.
The researchers then conducted another test with five
radiologists who were told to use the photos. The error detection
rate rose to 94 percent, according to the study, which is scheduled
for Monday presentation at the annual meeting of the American
Roentgen Ray Society in Washington, D.C.
"X-rays can look alike, and if one patient's images are confused with another before the radiologist sees them, it can be difficult for the radiologist to determine there is a mismatch," study author Dr. Srini Tridandapani, an assistant professor at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, said in a society news release.
"I estimate that about one out of 10,000 examinations have wrong-patient errors," Tridandapani said. "It occurred to me that we should be adding a photograph to every medical-imaging study as a means to correct this problem after I received a phone call, and a picture of the caller appeared on my phone. The picture immediately identified for me who the caller was."
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