Findings believed to be critical or unexpected are communicated to a radiologist, oncologist or other responsible healthcare professional immediately
- The CAMRT Code of Ethics emphasizes the importance of protecting patient safety in professional MRT practice1.
- 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.
- 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 they are 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”
- 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)
Canadian Association of medical radiation technologists. Code of Ethics. CAMRT. June 2008. Available from: http://www.camrt.ca/mrt-profession/professional-resources/code-of-ethics/. [Accessed 3 Nov 2014]
Canadian Association of Radiologists. CAR standard for communication of diagnostic imaging findings. September 2010. Available from: https://car.ca/wp-content/uploads/Communication-of-Diagnostic-Imaging-Findings.pdf. [Accessed 8 Jan 2019]
American College of Radiology. ACR practice parameter for communication of diagnostic imaging findings. ACR Practice Guidelines, 2005. Available from: http://www.acr.org/~/media/C5D1443C9EA4424AA12477D1AD1D927D.pdf. [Accessed 5 Nov 2015]
Royal College of Radiologists. Standards for the communication of critical, urgent and unexpected significant radiological findings. 2nd ed. Available from: https://www.rcr.ac.uk/standards-communication-critical-urgent-and-unexpected-significant-radiological-findings-second. [Accessed 5 Nov 2015]