Enhancing patient value efficiently: Medical history interviews create patient satisfaction and contribute to an improved quality of radiologic examinations

PLoS One. 2018 Sep 26;13(9):e0203807. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203807. eCollection 2018.


Diagnostic radiology examinations are generally very efficient processes optimized for high throughput and for serving the needs of physicians. On the downside, streamlined examinations disrupt the personal relationship between diagnosticians and patients. The radiology associations RSNA and ACR consider low visibility of radiologists a threat to the profession. Therefore, they launched counter-acting initiatives that aim at increasing patient satisfaction by providing more personal attention and care, and by raising knowledge about the discipline. However, they did not formulate concrete instructions on how to integrate care by radiologists into the examination process while inhibiting the flow minimally. From an internal patient satisfaction survey, we have seen that patients rated satisfaction with care and attention by physicians relatively low, indicating that patients would welcome a possibility to communicate with radiologists. In a controlled experimental setting, we have then changed our process to include a short medical history interview. Thereby we could corroborate that lack of educated communication is the primary cause of diminished satisfaction and could establish that the duration of the encounter is not critical to achieving improvement. Importantly, the interview also helped to improve the quality of the examination. Thus, short medical history interviews are a very efficient way to increase value by maximizing patient satisfaction and examination quality. Our approach is easy to implement in other radiology clinics that are interested in becoming more patient-centered and in raising patient satisfaction.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / standards
  • Medical History Taking*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Quality Improvement
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Radiography* / standards
  • Radiologists
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grant support

The authors received no external funding.