Radiologists require accurate clinical information to formulate reports. This is particularly relevant to computed tomography of the temporal bone, in which previous surgery can mimic disease.
The information provided with temporal bone computed tomography scan requests was evaluated. The study aimed to minimise inappropriate requests and improve the clinical value of reports.
A two-cycle prospective audit was undertaken using a proforma designed on the basis of national guidelines. Following the first cycle (in which the requests and reports of 100 scans were evaluated), new guidelines and training were implemented. A follow-up audit (of 50 scans) was then performed.
Following intervention, the percentage of clinically relevant reports increased from 52 to 94 (p < 0.01), whilst unnecessary or inappropriate scan requests decreased from 11 to 2 per cent (p < 0.05).
Optimising the clinical value of temporal bone computed tomography scan requests will have positive implications for patient care, time management and cost. The quality of the clinical information provided can have a significant impact on the clinical value of radiology reports, and can mean that unnecessary irradiation is avoided.
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