Opinions of Zambian Radiographers on Extending their Role in Interpretation and Reporting on General Radiographic Images: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Keywords:General Radiography, Image Interpretation, Reporting radiographer, Zambia
Background: There is a critical shortage of radiologists in Zambia to report on all imaging examinations. Radiologists have concentrated on specialised imaging examinations, thereby leaving the interpretation of general radiography examinations to the referring medical practitioners, whose competence in image interpretation is not at the same level as radiologists. This can lead to misdiagnosis and mismanagement of patients.
Objective: This study aimed at determining the opinions of Zambian radiographers on extending their role in the interpretation and reporting of general radiographic images.
Methodology: This study was conducted using a cross-sectional survey approach. Data were collected using an online questionnaire. Radiographers with a minimum of two years’ work experience were invited to participate in the study. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse quantitative data, while thematic analysis was used for qualitative data.
Results: A total of 81 participants responded to the survey. A major finding showed that most radiographers (N=78, 95%) had a positive attitude towards image reporting because it improves the delivery of imaging services. Most of the radiographers were also willing to be trained at a postgraduate level (93%, N=76), and indicated the need to extend the scope of practice to include image reporting (N=78, 95%). The main challenges identified were inadequate advocacy and possible resistance from medical professions.
Conclusion: Radiographers are prepared to venture into image reporting. It is anticipated that this role extension can supplement radiologists in providing diagnostic reports and ensure that all patients have access to this service.
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