Quality control in neuroradiology: Impact of trainees on discrepancy rates

V. G. Viertel, Lukasz Babiarz, M. Carone, J. S. Lewin, D. M. Yousem

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Prior studies have found a 2%-8% clinically significant error rate in radiology practice. We compared discrepancy rates of studies interpreted by subspecialty-trained neuroradiologists working with and without trainees. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Subspecialty-trained neuroradiologists reviewed 2162 studies during 41 months. Discrepancies between the original and "second opinion" reports were scored: 1, no change; 2, clinically insignificant detection discrepancy; 3, clinically insignificant interpretation discrepancy; 4, clinically significant detection discrepancy; and 5, clinically significant interpretation discrepancy. Faculty alone versus faculty and trainee discrepancy rates were calculated. RESULTS: In 87.6% (1894/2162), there were no discrepancies with the original report. The neuroradiology division had a 1.8% (39/2162; 95% CI, 1.3%-2.5%) rate of clinically significant discrepancies. In cases reviewed solely by faculty neuroradiologists (16.2% = 350/2162 of the total), the rate of discrepancy was 1.7% (6/350). With fellows (1232/2162, 57.0% of total) and residents (580/2162, 26.8% of total), the rates of discrepancy were 1.6% (20/1232) and 2.2% (13/580), respectively. The odds of a discrepant result were 26% greater (OR = 1.26; 95% CI, 0.38-4.20) when reading with a resident and 8% less (OR = 0.92; 95% CI, 0.35-2.44) when reading with a fellow than when reading alone. CONCLUSIONS: There was a 1.8% rate of clinically significant detection or interpretation discrepancy among academic neuroradiologists. The difference in the discrepancy rates between faculty only (1.7%), fellows and faculty (1.6%), and residents and faculty (2.2%) was not statistically significant but showed a trend indicating that reading with a resident increased the odds of a discrepant result.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1032-1036
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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