Errors in MRI Reports Have Experts Calling for Reads to be Completed by Subspeciality Radiologists

Researchers at the University of Vermont conducted a study reviewing body MRI reports to identify the number of errors found in the original reports after a subspeciality radiologist performed a second review. Identified as the first study to ever focus on secondary interpretations (second opinions) of body MRI reports which were evaluated the type of error, the results of this study were published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Shockingly, the study found that of the 357 body MRI reports that had a secondary interpretation performed by a subspeciality radiologist, 68.9% had at least one discrepancy or error and 15% of those had additional errors. The reasons for these errors were primarily cognitive, and included faulty reasoning by the radiologist, misclassification of the abnormality, and underreporting of abnormalities that existed beyond the reason for why the testing was ordered. Previous studies determined that error rates in radiology reports were anywhere from 2-6% up to 56%, with most studies showing that many reporting errors and discrepancies are found in imaging centered around pelvic and abdominal regions. 

The experts in the study concluded that body imaging frequently has the highest error rates and this is exemplified when a second opinion or secondary read is performed by subspeciality radiologists, citing that general radiologists are not experienced with the sensitivity of MRIs to determine specific diagnoses. 

Ordering a second opinion on MRI exams by a subspeciality radiologist who specializes in your exam type and body area examined will ensure you have the right information for your specialists to make the right decisions for your treatment.

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