Patient-Centered Outcomes Related to Imaging Testing in US Primary Care

Monica L. Zigman Suchsland, Elizabeth Witwer, Anjali R. Truitt, Danielle C. Lavallee, Ying Zhang, Philip Posner, Brian Do, Patrick M. Bossuyt, Victoria Hardy, Matthew J. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle*Academicpeer-review


Background: Imaging tests are one of the most sophisticated types of diagnostic tools used in health care, yet there are concerns that imaging is overused. Currently, tests are typically evaluated and implemented based on their accuracy, and there is limited knowledge about the range of patient-centered outcomes (PCOs) that imaging tests may lead to. This study explores patients’ experiences and subsequent outcomes of imaging tests most notable to patients. Methods: Adult patients from four primary care clinics who had an x-ray, CT, MRI, or ultrasound in the 12 months before recruitment participated in a single semistructured interview to recount their imaging experience. Interview transcripts were analyzed thematically. Results: Four themes related to PCOs were identified from 45 interviews. Participants’ mean age was 53 years (25-83 years), 30 had undergone a diagnostic imaging test, and 15 underwent imaging for screening or monitoring. Themes included knowledge gained from the imaging test, its contribution to their overall health care journey, physical experiences during the test procedure, and impacts of the testing process on emotions. Conclusions: Patients identified various imaging test outcomes that were important to them. Measurement and reporting these outcomes should be considered more often in diagnostic research. Tools for providers and patients to discuss and utilize these outcomes may help promote shared decision making around the use and impact of imaging tests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-163
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number2
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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