Radiological error: analysis, standard setting, targeted instruction and teamworking

Eur Radiol. 2005 Aug;15(8):1760-7. doi: 10.1007/s00330-005-2662-8. Epub 2005 Feb 23.


Diagnostic radiology does not have objective benchmarks for acceptable levels of missed diagnoses. Until now, data collection of radiological discrepancies has been very time consuming. The culture within the specialty did not encourage it. However, public concern about patient safety is increasing. There have been recent innovations in compiling radiological interpretive discrepancy rates which may facilitate radiological standard setting. However standard setting alone will not optimise radiologists' performance or patient safety. We must use these new techniques in radiological discrepancy detection to stimulate greater knowledge sharing, targeted instruction and teamworking among radiologists. Not all radiological discrepancies are errors. Radiological discrepancy programmes must not be abused as an instrument for discrediting individual radiologists. Discrepancy rates must not be distorted as a weapon in turf battles. Radiological errors may be due to many causes and are often multifactorial. A systems approach to radiological error is required. Meaningful analysis of radiological discrepancies and errors is challenging. Valid standard setting will take time. Meanwhile, we need to develop top-up training, mentoring and rehabilitation programmes.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Patient Care Team
  • Radiology / education
  • Radiology / standards*