Title: Discuss the medico-legal responsibilities relating to the practice of radiographer reporting.
Lee Bin Hao
Word Count: 2543 words
In the face of a rising population in Singapore, there is a great demand of healthcare services. This is due to the ageing population and there is a definite need for more healthcare professionals in public hospitals or private practice. This applies to the workforce in radiology as well. As cited from MJA the Medical Journal of Australia, in the United Kingdom it is estimated that, on average, consultant radiologists have to report between 18 000 and 20 000 examinations per year, which is considered a lot. In Singapore, we also face this problem. To solve this problem, we actually use offshoring radiology services from India and we call that “Teleradiology”. However, every coin has two sides. Teleradiology also poses negative effects too. U.S. radiologists train for five or more years after medical school, teleradiology has become a paradigm example of how globalization threatens highly educated workers as easily as call center operators (Sperling, 2005; Elliot, 2006). Besides that, the amount of time needed to diagnose a plain x ray will be longer than an in house radiologist reporting them on the spot. To meet the demands from the public, an alternative method will be allowing and giving radiographers the responsibilities to diagnose and report on x rays etc.
Possible implications of errors in reporting.
By virtue of their long education and training, radiologists are already considered the experts on image interpretation. Therefore, we are not debating that radiographers should replace them in the demanding health care system, but rather that limited some task for them to help meet the demand for cases that requires immediate (“hot”) reporting. In Singapore, currently radiographers do not have the need to report on x rays images. However, in a the field of sonography, sonographers are expected to do a report on the sonographs they took. So before we also do allow radiographers to take over this role too, we also have to look into the possible implications of errors in reporting a diagnostic film. Diagnostic errors are very critical in the branches of medical field and healthcare as they are the basic indication of a poor patient care service. Since the early 1970s, a lot of practitioners have been subjected to a rising amount of medical malpractice claims. Radiology is one of them most liable for claims of medical negligence. Errors may come from failures of perception, poor technique, misjudgments and lack of knowledge. One should understand the sources of error in diagnostic radiology as well as the causes of negligence that form the basis of malpractice litigation. There are difference types of possible errors that may happen such as errors in reporting, failure to suggest the next appropriate procedure and the list goes on. Due to the amount of experiences a typical radiographer have as compared to a radiologist, we can say that a radiographer is more likely to make a mistake as compare to a radiologist in general. One of the most easily missed or wrong diagnosis is actually trauma patients. Patients with multiple forms of injuries often require a series of x rays to examine all injured regions. The frequency of missed lesions in such patients is significantly high. Practioners have been aware that a fracture may draw and hold their attention, diverting it from other possible abnormalities. This effect has been shown in which the discovery of a fracture on one image might interfere with the detection of a subtle fracture on another image of the same patient. This is a very good example of a possible error in this aspect. This will not only cause poor patient care but also affect the next treatment for the patient. This is like the “Butterfly Effect”. In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small...
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