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Radiol Bras. 2018 Mar-Apr;51(2):109-111. doi: 10.1590/0100-3984.2017.0084.

Physician-patient communication in diagnostic examinations: what is the role of the radiologist?

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MD, Radiologist at the A.C.Camargo Cancer Center, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
PhD, MD, Radiologist at the A.C.Camargo Cancer Center, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


in English, Portuguese

Historically, radiology has developed in a way that has increasingly distanced the radiologist from the patient. Currently, diagnostic imaging results are predominantly communicated through written reports. Written communication is not considered sufficient, verbal communication being essential for the performance of the modern radiologist to be considered satisfactory. However, a lack of preparation on the part of the radiologist when communicating the diagnosis, especially when it is not favorable (as is often the case in a cancer hospital), makes that conversation quite challenging. Studies conducted in other countries have demonstrated that there are a variety of opinions on the part of requesting physicians and patients regarding radiologist-patient communication, which can be explained by cultural differences. Although there is no rule regarding the best way to accomplish such communication, there are definitely incorrect ways. To bridge the gap between radiologists and patients and improve radiologist-patient communication, preparation of radiologists during their medical residency is fundamental. Therefore, it is important to address this question in Brazil. The objective of this study was to identify deeper discussions about the topic in the scientific literature. This analysis could help us map those involved and plan strategies to improve the ethical behavior of radiologists toward their patients.


Diagnostic imaging; Ethics; Physician-patient relations; Radiology

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