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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2001 Sep;177(3):579-83.

Patient expectations and costs of immediate reporting of screening mammography: talk isn't cheap.

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1
Department of Radiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Our purpose was to determine whether patients prefer immediate or delayed results of screening mammography and to determine the cost of immediate reporting at our institution.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A survey was anonymously and randomly distributed to 129 women who were 35-70 years old during a visit to their primary care physician, asking the women's preference for receiving mammography results by one of two systems: by letter with a return visit for any additional tests; or by speaking at once with the radiologist, with the option of additional tests being performed during the same visit. Patients' willingness to pay for the latter service was also determined. A cost identification model was constructed using commercially available software. We considered the impact on radiologists' and technologists' time and the need for additional equipment and space, and we analyzed the effect on the cost of immediate reporting.

RESULTS:

One hundred twenty (93%) surveys were completed. Eighty women (67%) preferred immediate reporting, and 62 (78%) of these 80 patients would wait 30-60 min. The additional cost of immediate reporting is $28.22 per patient. Only 11% of patients were willing to pay this additional cost. When new equipment and space were not required, the cost would increase by $4.38. This cost was most influenced by the time required to give patients normal results.

CONCLUSION:

Most surveyed patients preferred speaking with a radiologist immediately but were unwilling to pay additional fees. Radiologists, hospital administrators, and health care planners must be aware of the costs of immediate reporting and must factor these costs into any change in hospital or national policy.

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PMID:
11517050
DOI:
10.2214/ajr.177.3.1770579
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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