Trainee Knowledge of Imaging Appropriateness and Safety: Results of a Series of Surveys From a Large Academic Medical Center

Thaddeus D. Hollingsworth*, Richard Duszak, Arvind Vijayasarathi, Rondi B. Gelbard, Mark E. Mullins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: In order to provide high quality care to their patients and utilize imaging most judiciously, physician trainees should possess a working knowledge of appropriate use, radiation dose, and safety. Prior work has suggested knowledge gaps in similar areas. We aimed to evaluate the knowledge of imaging appropriateness, radiation dose, and MRI and contrast safety of physician trainees across a variety of specialties. Methods: Between May 2016 and January 2017, three online surveys were distributed to all interns, residents, and fellows in ACGME accredited training programs at a large academic institution over two academic years. Results: Response rates to three surveys ranged from 17.2% (218 of 1266) for MRI and contrast material safety, 19.1% (242 of 1266) for imaging appropriateness, to19.9% (246 of 1238) for radiation dose. Overall 72% (509 of 706) of survey respondents reported regularly ordering diagnostic imaging examinations, but fewer than half (47.8%; 470 of 984) could correctly estimate radiation dose across four commonly performed imaging studies. Only one third (34%; 167 of 488) of trainees chose appropriate imaging in scenarios involving pregnant patients. Trainee post-graduate year was not significantly correlated with overall radiation safety scores, and no significant difference was found between radiation safety or appropriate imaging scores of those who participated in a medical school radiology elective vs. those who did not. A total of 84% (57 of 68) of radiology trainees and 43% (269 of 630) of non-radiology trainees considered their knowledge adequate but that correlated only weakly correlated to actual knowledge scores (p<0.001). Most trainees (73%, 518 of 706) agreed that more training in these areas would have beneficial effects on patient care. Conclusions: Knowledge gaps pertaining to appropriateness and imaging safety exist among many trainees. In order to enhance the value of imaging at the population level, further work is needed to assess the most appropriate method and stage of training to address these knowledge gaps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-21
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Problems in Diagnostic Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


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