Quality Assurance is an essential part of the management of education and training. The GMC requires all aspects of training to be quality assured and radiologists need to demonstrate objective assessment of, and reflection on, their practice. Peer feedback can be used as a tool to contribute to this reflection.
We follow the Royal College of Radiologists quality assurance in radiology reporting guidelines, as demonstrated below.
The fundamental objective of QA in radiology services is to promote patient safety and enhance patient care with accurate and timely radiological opinions. As part of such a programme, there must be systems in place for ensuring the standard of reporting. *
The four principles of peer feedback in radiology reporting:
#1 OBJECTIVE #3 ANONYMISED
#2 FAIR #4 CLINICALLY GOVERNED
A system of categorisation of discrepancies should be clearly defined with clear boundaries.
At 4ways we use our 5 step discrepancy scale, produced in conjunction with the Department of Health to clearly categorise any discrepancies found
In applying a system of categorisation to the process of peer feedback, the benchmark should be set at the level at which general radiologists are expected to practice.
At 4ways we have policies and procedures set for reporting radiologists
To encourage participation and to protect patients and radiologists from inappropriate use of information out of context, QA data should be anonymised where possible and kept confidential.
At 4ways all audit data is anonymised
Outcome data from QA should feed into the clinical governance infrastructure of the institution and be acted on where appropriate with formal feedback to individuals.
At 4ways all our reporting radiologists are invited to regular discrepancy meetings
Until the information from such a system is mature, benchmarking between departments is not advocated as there will be a number of compounding variables that could render the process of little benefit and potentially produce erroneous conclusions.
4ways has been auditing reports since 2005 giving us the biggest data set of audit reports in the UK.
"I can confirm that the Imaging department at Royal Derby Hospital has been very satisfied with the excellent clinical service offered by 4ways as a professional outsourcing reporting company. The turnaround times have been exemplary and are regularly audited together with the accuracy and quality of the radiology reports. The IT infrastructure is robust and the general performance is excellent especially the prompt response to any clinical queries we have made."
Dr Dominic Clarke, Clinical Director - Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust