Rationale and Objectives: Research on communication between radiologists and women undergoing screening and diagnostic mammography is limited. We describe community radiologists' communication practices with patients regarding screening and diagnostic mammogram results and factors associated with frequency of communication. Materials and Methods: We received surveys from 257 radiologists (70% of those eligible) about the extent to which they talk to women as part of their health care visit for either screening or diagnostic mammograms, whether this occurs if the exam assessment is positive or negative, and how they use estimates of patient risk to convey information about an abnormal exam where the specific finding of cancer is not yet known. We also assessed characteristics of the radiologists to identify associations with more or less frequent communication at the time of the mammogram. Results: Two hundred and forty-three radiologists provided complete data (95%). Very few (<6%) reported routinely communicating with women when screening mammograms were either normal or abnormal. Fewer than half (47%) routinely communicated with women when their diagnostic mammograms were normal, whereas 77% often or always communicated with women when their diagnostic exams were abnormal. For positive diagnostic exams, female radiologists were more likely to be frequent communicators compared to males (87.1%-72.8%; P = .02) and those who spend 40%-79% of their time in breast imaging (94.6%) were more likely to be frequent communicators compared to those who spend less time (67.2%-78.9%; P = .02). Most radiologists convey risk information using general rather than numeric statements (57.7% vs. 28.5%). Conclusions: Radiologists are most likely to convey information about diagnostic mammographic findings when results are abnormal. Most radiologists convey risk information using general rather than numeric statements.
- Patient communication
- breast cancer screening
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging