Increasing rate of detection of wrong-patient radiographs: Use of photographs obtained at time of radiography

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE. The objective of our study was to evaluate whether facial and chest photographs obtained simultaneously with radiographs increase radiologists' detection rate of labeling errors. MATERIALS AND METHODS. We obtained simultaneous portable radiographs and photographs of 34 patients. We generated 88 pairs of chest radiographs (one recent radiograph, one prior radiograph) and compiled a set of 20 pairs for reader review. Two, three, or four mismatched pairs (i.e., pairs containing radiographs of different patients) were introduced into each list. Ten radiologist readers blinded to the presence of mismatches interpreted the 20 radiograph pairs. Readers then reviewed a second set of 20 pairs containing mismatches but photographs of the patients obtained at the time of imaging were attached to the radiographs. Readers were not instructed regarding the purpose of the photographs. The mismatch detection rate and time for interpretation was recorded for both sessions. The twotailed Fisher exact test was used to evaluate differences in mismatch detection rates between sessions, with a p value of less than 0.05 being considered significant. RESULTS. The error detection rates without (3/24 = 12.5%) and with (16/25 = 64%) photographs significantly differed (p = 0.0003). The average interpretation times without and with photographs were 35.73 and 26.51 minutes, respectively (two-tailed Student t test, p = 0.1165). CONCLUSION. The use of photographs increased the detection of errors without a concomitant increase in film interpretation time, which may translate into improvements in patient safety without an increase in interpretation time. © American Roentgen Ray Society.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tridandapani S; Ramamurthy S; Galgano SJ; Provenzale JM
  • Volume

  • 200
  • Issue

  • 4