The DePICTORS Study: discrepancies in preliminary interpretation of CT scans between on-call residents and staff

Emerg Radiol. 2009 Jul;16(4):303-8. doi: 10.1007/s10140-009-0795-9. Epub 2009 Jan 29.


At many academic hospitals, radiology residents provide preliminary interpretations of CT studies performed outside of regular working hours. We examined the rate of discrepancies between resident interpretations and final reports issued by staff. We prospectively obtained 1,756 preliminary reports and corresponding final reports for computed tomography (CT) scans performed on call between November 2006 and March 2007. The overall rate of clinically significant discrepancies (those that would potentially alter the patient's clinical course prior to issue of the final report) was 2.0%. Major discrepancy rates for abdominal/pelvic, chest, cervical spine and head CT were 4.1%, 2.5%, 1.0% and 0.7%, respectively. Senior residents had fewer major discrepancies compared to their junior colleagues. Time of interpretation was also evaluated, but a statistically significant relationship was not observed. In summary, this study demonstrates a low discrepancy rate between residents and staff radiologists and identifies areas where after-hours service may be further improved.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Head / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiology / education
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*