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Patient experience of imaging reports: A systematic literature review

Rogers, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-7820-7309, Willis, S., Gillard, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-9686-2232 & Chudleigh, J. (2023). Patient experience of imaging reports: A systematic literature review. Ultrasound, 31(3), pp. 164-175. doi: 10.1177/1742271x221140024


Written reports are often the sole form of communication from diagnostic imaging. Reports are increasingly being accessed by patients through electronic records. Experiencing medical terminology can be confusing and lead to miscommunication, a decrease in involvement and increased anxiety for patients.

This systematic review was designed to include predefined study selection criteria and was registered prospectively on PROSPERO (CRD42020221734). MEDLINE, CINAHL, Academic Search Complete (EBSCOhost), EMBASE, Scopus and EThOS were searched to identify articles meeting the inclusion criteria. Studies were assessed against the Mixed-Methods Appraisal Tool version 2018 for quality. A segregated approach was used to synthesise data. A thematic synthesis of the qualitative data and a narrative review of the quantitative data were performed, and findings of both syntheses were then integrated.

Twelve articles reporting 13 studies were included. This review found that patients’ experiences of imaging reports included positive and negative aspects. The study identified two main themes encompassing both qualitative and quantitative findings. Patients reported their experiences regarding their understanding of reports and self-management.

Patient understanding of imaging reports is multi factorial including medical terminology, communication aids and errors. Self-management through direct access is important to patients. While receiving bad news is a concern, responsibility for accessing this is accepted.

A patient-centred approach to writing imaging reports may help to improve the quality of service, patient experience and wider health outcomes.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher Keywords: Mixed-methods systematic review; qualitative; radiology; thematic synthesis
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
SWORD Depositor:
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