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Communication of critical or unexpected findings

 

Findings believed to be critical or unexpected are communicated to a radiologist, oncologist or other responsible healthcare professional immediately

 

+ Provision of care

  • The CAMRT Code of Ethics emphasizes the importance of protecting patient safety in professional MRT practice.1
  • If, in the regular course of their duties, an MRT identifies something suspected to be significant for a patient's immediate health and well-being, they have a responsibility to advocate for the patient and point out the suspected finding to a radiologist, oncologist or other responsible healthcare professional immediately.

+ Communicating a finding

  • MRTs should be familiar with facility policy concerning the process for communication of critical and urgent findings.
  • It is important that the results are communicated to the radiologist, oncologist and/or other responsible healthcare professional directly:
    • Obtain acknowledgment of receipt of the information to avoid situations where communications are lost or delayed (e.g., in person, by phone, or electronically)4
    • If the radiologist/oncologist is not on duty, then the healthcare professional directly responsible for the patient is alerted
    • If neither is available, the patient is transferred to the care of an emergency department
    • In a critical finding scenario, the patient remains under supervision until a physician is consulted

  • Communicate to the patient that he/she is being directed for follow-up care without imparting specific information on their diagnosis/prognosis:
    • For example, “We’d like you to remain here while your images are being reviewed”

+ Documenting a finding

  • The finding and contact is documented:
    • Reason for alerting radiologist, oncologist or other responsible healthcare professional
    • Date and time of the procedure
    • Person contacted regarding the finding, with time of contact (acknowledgment)

+ References

  1. Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. Scope of Practice. Available at: http://www.camrt.ca/abouttheprofession/scopeofpractice/Scope_of_Practice.pdf. Accessed February 24, 2012.
  2. Canadian Association of Radiologists. CAR standard for communication of diagnostic imaging findings. September, 2010. Available at: http://www.car.ca/uploads/standards%20guidelines/20101125_en_standard_communication_di_findings.pdf. Accessed February 24, 2012.
  3. The American College of Radiology. ACR practice parameter for communication of diagnostic imaging findings. ACR Practice Guidelines, 2005. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/C5D1443C9EA4424AA12477D1AD1D927D.pdf. Accessed November 5, 2015.
  4. The Royal College of Radiologists. Standards for the communication of critical, urgent and unexpected significant radiological findings, Second edition. Available at:https://www.rcr.ac.uk/standards-communication-critical-urgent-and-unexpected-significant-radiological-findings-second. Accessed November 5, 2015.

 

 

Validation

November, 2015

 

 
Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists
85 Albert St, Suite 1000, Ottawa, ON, K1P 6A4
phone: 613 234-0012 / 800 463-9729
fax: 613 234-1097
www.camrt.ca