Trainee reporting of computed tomography examinations: do they make mistakes and does it matter?

Clin Radiol. 2004 Feb;59(2):159-62; discussion 157-8. doi: 10.1016/s0009-9260(03)00309-x.


Aim: To determine the accuracy of trainees reporting computed tomography (CT) examinations.

Material and methods: Over a 6-month period a single consultant reviewed all the CT examinations reported by registrars in one radiology department. After recording a provisional registrar report each examination was jointly reviewed by the consultant and registrar. The consultant's opinion was regarded as the gold standard. Data collected included: the error rate, whether an error was significant, leading to a change in patient management, and whether the mistake was a false-negative or positive.

Results: Three hundred and thirty-one patients were included in the study. There was an overall error rate of 21.5%. A significant error leading to a change in management was made in 10% of reports, and a significant error that did not lead to a change in management was made in 9.3%; 2.1% of reports had insignificant errors; and 69% of errors were false-negatives.

Conclusion: Registrars make a significant number of errors affecting patient management when reporting CT and ideally all examinations should be reviewed by a consultant.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Consultants
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit
  • Medical Records / standards*
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / standards*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiology / education*
  • Radiology / standards
  • Risk Management
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*