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J Am Coll Radiol. 2013 Jul;10(7):513-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2013.03.013.

Patient satisfaction in radiology: qualitative analysis of written complaints generated over a 10-year period in an academic medical center.

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Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.



The aims of this study were to review patients' complaints about their care in radiology and to determine key areas for improvement.


An institutional review board-approved, HIPAA-compliant study was conducted to retrospectively evaluate all radiology-related patient complaints received by the authors' institution's Office of Patient Advocacy from April 1999 to December 2010. The internal review classified the complaints into those that concerned medical complications, radiology staff members, failure to provide patient-centered care, and those that related to quality on the basis of radiologic benchmarks of safety, systems, and professionalism. The rate of successful complaint resolution was also tallied. The incidence of complaints per modality was calculated as a fraction of the total number of radiologic examinations performed.


A total of 153 radiology-related complaints were identified. The majority of complaints (60.1% [92 of 153]) described a failure to provide patient-centered care. Of the remaining complaints, 26.2% (40 of 153) reported physical discomfort, 10.5% (16 of 153) reported a combination of both physical discomfort and lack of patient-centered care, and 3.2% (5 of 153) were not related to either category. Of the complaints regarding quality, 44.5% (68 of 153) were associated with operational systems, 24.2% (37 of 153) with safety, 17% (26 of 153) with professionalism, and 14.3% (22 of 153) with multifactorial events. Delays accounted for 20.2% of complaints (31 of 153), and 49.6% of complaints (76 of 153) concerned radiology staff members. Complaint resolution was achieved in 83.6% of cases (128 of 153). The overall incidence of complaints per radiologic procedure was 0.238 per 10,000. The incidence of complaints associated with interventional procedures (3.26 per 10,000) was significantly (P < .05) higher than the incidence of those associated with noninterventional examinations (0.138 per 10,000).


Failure to provide patient-centered care was the most common complaint; most of these complaints could be attributed to systems issues. There was a higher incidence of complaints related to interventional procedures than diagnostic examinations. Delays and providers' interactions with patients were identified as key areas for improvement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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