Comparison between the written obstetric ultrasound reports of qualified sonographers and imaging radiographers at a tertiary hospital in Lusaka, Zambia
Keywords:neonatal mortality, maternal deaths, trimester, clinical question
Background. A diagnostic ultrasound report serves as a channel of communication between the imaging team and the doctor to provide feedback on the requested ultrasound examination(s). In order to give high-quality healthcare, this feedback is crucial. Therefore, any gaps in the physicians’ and imaging personnel’s communication on the diagnostic ultrasonography report could undermine the clinicians’ diagnosis. Sonographers and imaging radiographers both carry out diagnostic ultrasound scans in Zambia and write reports on the results. The main objective of this research study was to determine the quality of obstetric ultrasound reports written by sonographers compared to those written by imaging radiographers at a tertiary hospital.
Methods. This retrospective quantitative research study involved ultrasound reports of 108 patients who underwent an obstetric ultrasound examination at a tertiary hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. All the collected data, from the purposefully selected files, was analysed using SPPS version 24. Four experienced sonographers and imaging radiographers analysed the data in order to achieve objectivity. They helped achieve rigor in this research.
Results. The findings were that sonographers produce superior obstetric ultrasound reports compared to imaging radiographers. However, the interpretation of obstetric ultrasound reports by both followed a similar pattern across all trimesters (r=0.88). The results also showed that the majority of them neglected to comment on important components of an obstetric ultrasound scan in all trimesters. For example, both scored a total of 1 (1.9%) on commenting on the condition of the maternal kidneys. On the other hand, the majority of the assessed reports demonstrated that an effort was made to respond to the clinical question on the request forms: imaging radiographers scored 74 (68.5%) and sonographers 86 (79.6%).
Conclusion. Sonographers write better ultrasound reports than imaging radiographers. Following assessment of the reports by the researchers the average scores were sonographers (50.9%) and , imaging radiographers (40.7%). It is recommended that in view of the results of the sonographers that there is a need for more sonographers be trained.
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