Emergency Radiology

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 303–308 | Cite as

The DePICTORS Study: discrepancies in preliminary interpretation of CT scans between on-call residents and staff

  • Jessica Walls
  • Natalie Hunter
  • Penelope M. A. Brasher
  • Stephen G. F. Ho
Original Article


At many academic hospitals, radiology residents provide preliminary interpretations of CT studies performed outside of regular working hours. We examined the rate of discrepancies between resident interpretations and final reports issued by staff. We prospectively obtained 1,756 preliminary reports and corresponding final reports for computed tomography (CT) scans performed on call between November 2006 and March 2007. The overall rate of clinically significant discrepancies (those that would potentially alter the patient’s clinical course prior to issue of the final report) was 2.0%. Major discrepancy rates for abdominal/pelvic, chest, cervical spine and head CT were 4.1%, 2.5%, 1.0% and 0.7%, respectively. Senior residents had fewer major discrepancies compared to their junior colleagues. Time of interpretation was also evaluated, but a statistically significant relationship was not observed. In summary, this study demonstrates a low discrepancy rate between residents and staff radiologists and identifies areas where after-hours service may be further improved.


Computed tomography Emergency radiology Interpretation Discrepancy Resident reporting 



We sincerely thank Dr. Douglas McKnight from Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia for his valuable clinical insights and also thank the Radiology Transcription department at Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia for their assistance in acquiring the reports analysed in this study.


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Copyright information

© Am Soc Emergency Radiol 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Walls
    • 1
  • Natalie Hunter
    • 1
  • Penelope M. A. Brasher
    • 2
  • Stephen G. F. Ho
    • 3
  1. 1.University of British Columbia Radiology Residency Training ProgramVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and EvaluationVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyVancouver General HospitalVancouverCanada

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