• Beyond image interpretation: Capturing the impact of radiographer advanced practice through activity diaries

      Snaith, Beverly; Milner, R.C.; Harris, Martine A. (2016-11)
      There is limited evidence of the impact of radiographers working in advanced roles beyond task substitution. This study reviews the contribution of advanced (and consultant) practitioner radiographers to service delivery whilst reporting radiographs and demonstrates the impact this has on patients and staff, both internal and external to the imaging department. The study was a prospective exploratory study using activity diaries to allow interval sampling when individuals were rostered to report. Data was coded using a compiled list of activities and recorded in 15-min intervals over the period of one week. Thirteen radiographers who independently report radiographs participated across 6 locations in a busy multisite English National Health Service (NHS) Trust. Radiographers reported the majority of the examinations during the study period (n = 4512/5671; 79.6%). The total number of coded activities recorded over the study period was 1527, equating to 380.5 relative hours. The majority of available time was spent reporting, including dictating and verifying the reports of colleagues or trainees, although 69.5% of reporting time was interrupted. Based upon the hours of reporting there was an average of 19.3 reports (patient episodes) produced per hour. Direct patient care tasks and support for staff in decision making were regularly documented. Supplementary tasks included administrative activity, amendments to rotas, preparing presentations and documenting incidents identified during reporting. This study has demonstrated the breadth and complexity of the activities performed by advanced practice radiographers. The findings confirm their role in supporting service delivery beyond image interpretation.
    • The impact of immediate reporting on interpretive discrepancies and patient referral pathways within the emergency department: a randomised controlled trial

      Hardy, Maryann L.; Snaith, Beverly; Scally, Andy J. (2013)
      Objective To determine whether an immediate reporting service for musculoskeletal trauma reduces interpretation errors and positively impacts on patient referral pathways. Methods A pragmatic multicentre randomised controlled trial was undertaken. 1502 patients were recruited and randomly assigned to an immediate or delayed reporting arm and treated according to group assignment. Assessment was made of concordance in image interpretation between emergency department (ED) clinicians and radiology; discharge and referral pathways; and patient journey times. Results 1688 radiographic examinations were performed (1502 patients). 91 discordant interpretations were identified (n=91/1688; 5.4%) with a greater number of discordant interpretations noted in the delayed reporting arm (n=67/849, 7.9%). In the immediate reporting arm, the availability of a report reduced, but did not eliminate, discordance in interpretation (n=24/839, 2.9%). No significant difference in number of patients discharged, referred to hospital clinics or admitted was identified. However, patient ED recalls were significantly reduced (z=2.66; p=0.008) in the immediate reporting arm, as were the number of short-term inpatient bed days (5 days or less) (z=3.636; p<0.001). Patient journey time from ED arrival to discharge or admission was equivalent (z=0.79, p=0.432). Conclusion Immediate reporting significantly reduced ED interpretive errors and prevented errors that would require patient recall. However, immediate reporting did not eliminate ED interpretative errors or change the number of patients discharged, referred to hospital clinics or admitted overall. Advances in knowledge This is the first study to consider the wider impact of immediate reporting on the ED patient pathway as a whole and hospital resource usage.
    • Impact of latest generation cardiac interventional X-ray equipment on patient image quality and radiation dose for trans-catheter aortic valve implantations

      Gislason-Lee, Amber J.; Keeble, C.; Malkin, C.J.; Egleston, D.; Bexon, J.; Kengyelics, S.M.; Blackman, D.; Davies, A.G. (2016)
      Objectives: This study aimed to determine the impact on radiation dose and image quality of a new cardiac interventional X-ray system for trans-catheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) patients compared to the previously-used cardiac X-ray system. Methods: Patient dose and image data were retrospectively collected from a Philips AlluraClarity (new) and Siemens Axion Artis (reference) X-ray system. Patient dose area product (DAP) and fluoroscopy duration of 41 patient cases from each X-ray system were compared using a Wilcoxon test. Ten patient aortograms from each X-ray system were scored by 32 observers on a continuous scale to assess the clinical image quality at the given phase of the TAVI procedure. Scores were dichotomised by acceptability and analysed using a Chi-squared test. Results: Significant reductions in patient dose (p<<0.001) were found for the new system with no significant change in fluoroscopy duration (p=0.052); procedure DAP reduced by 55%, fluoroscopy DAP by 48% and “cine” acquisition DAP by 61%. There was no significant difference between image quality scores of the two X-ray systems (p=0.06). Conclusions: The new cardiac X-ray system demonstrated a very significant reduction in patient dose with no loss of clinical image quality. Advances in Knowledge: The huge growth of TAVI may impact on the radiation exposure of cardiac patients and particularly on operators including anaesthetists; cumulative exposure of interventional cardiologists performing high volume TAVI over 30-40 years may be harmful. The Phillips Clarity upgrade including improved image enhancement and optimised X-ray settings significantly reduced radiation without reducing clinically acceptable image quality.
    • Noise estimation in cardiac x-ray imaging: a machine vision approach

      Kengyelics, S.M.; Gislason-Lee, Amber J.; Keeble, C.; Magee, D.R.; Davies, A.G. (2016-12-16)
      We propose a method to automatically parameterize noise in cardiac x-ray image sequences. The aim was to provide context-sensitive imaging information for use in regulating dose control feedback systems that relates to the experience of human observers. The algorithm locates and measures noise contained in areas of approximately equal signal level. A single noise metric is derived from the dominant noise components based on their magnitude and spatial location in relation to clinically relevant structures. The output of the algorithm was compared to noise and clinical acceptability ratings from 28 observers viewing 40 different cardiac x-ray imaging sequences. Results show good agreement and that the algorithm has the potential to augment existing control strategies to deliver x-ray dose to the patient on an individual basis.
    • Strategies for assessing renal function prior to outpatient contrast-enhanced CT: a UK survey

      Harris, Martine A.; Snaith, Beverly; Clarke, R. (2016)
      The purpose of this paper is to identify current UK screening practices prior to contrast-enhanced CT. To determine the patient management strategies to minimize the risk of contrast-induced acute kidney injury (CI-AKI) risk in outpatients. An invitation to complete an electronic survey was distributed to the CT managers of 174 UK adult National Health Service hospital trusts. The survey included questions related to local protocols and national guidance on which these are based. Details of the assessment of renal function prior to imaging and thresholds for contrast contraindication and patient management were also sought. A response rate of 47.1% was received. Almost all sites had a policy in place for contrast administration (n = 80/82; 97.6%). The majority of sites require a blood test on outpatients undergoing a contrast-enhanced CT scan (n = 75/82; 91.5%); however, some (15/75; 20.0%) sites only check the result in patients at high risk and a small number (7/82; 8.5%) of sites indicated that it was a referrer responsibility. The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) or serum creatinine (SCr) result threshold at which i.v. contrast was contraindicated varied and 19 different threshold levels of eGFR or SCr were identified, each leading to different prophylactic strategies. Inconsistency was noted in the provision of follow-up blood tests after contrast administration. The wide variation in practice reflects inconsistencies in published guidance. Evidence-based consensuses of which patients to test and subsequent risk thresholds will aid clinicians identify those patients in which the risk of CI-AKI is clinically significant but manageable. There is also a need to determine the value of the various prophylactic strategies, follow-up regimen and efficient service delivery pathways. This survey has identified that further work is required to define which patients are high risk, confirm those which require renal function testing prior to contrast administration and how best to manage patients at risk of CI-AKI. The role of new technologies within this service delivery pathway requires further investigation.