The X-ray request – an effective vehicle of communication?
An X-ray request is an essential vehicle for communicating clinical information from the referring clinician to the radiographer, responsible for undertaking the procedure, who requires sufficient information to justify an exposure. Abbreviations and illegible handwriting can reduce this expected level of communication. Abbreviations were included on 81% of the request forms audited in this study and 9% of request forms were considered to be illegible. Radiographers have a high acceptance level of abbreviations compared to illegible handwriting. This study demonstrated that abbreviations could have more than one meaning to individual radiographers. Thus radiographers could waste valuable clinical time locating the referring clinician to clarify the implied meaning. The incorrect interpretation of the meaning of an abbreviation could lead to an erroneous examination being undertaken with subsequent medico-legal implications.(Published Online May 18 2006)
Key Words: Radiographic request; abbreviations; communication; illegible handwriting.
c1 Correspondence to: B.T. Channon, School of Allied Health Professions, Faculty of Health and Social Care, Glenside Campus, University of the West of England, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol, BS16 1DD, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1173288570; Fax: +44 (0) 1173388408; E-mail: Brian.Channon@uwe.ac.uk