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Study: RAs Oversee Patient Management Duties

Jul 16, 2015

According to a new study, most radiologist assistants spend a significant amount of time each week performing patient management activities. Their weekly responsibilities include reviewing patients’ medical records, verifying the appropriateness of exams and advocating for patient radiation safety and protection.

The prevalence of the RA’s patient management duties, frequency of performing specific medical imaging procedures, and workplace practice and reporting standards are among the findings in the Radiologist Assistant Practice Survey conducted by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.

When asked how frequently they perform a variety of patient management activities, 100% of respondents said they review patients’ medical records on a weekly basis, and nearly 99% said they spend time each week assessing risk factors that might contraindicate patients’ medical imaging procedures. In addition, nearly 93​% of RAs said that they spend time during the week advocating for patient radiation safety and protection.

In regards to frequency of certain procedures, 8% of respondents said they perform esophageal studies each week and 8​0% said upper gastrointestinal studies occur each week. However, nearly 85​% said they never perform magnetic resonance postprocessing, and nearly 82​% said defecography exams are the least performed procedures.

The majority of radiologist assistants said they would be willing to participate in a voluntary reporting of quality measures, and a majority said their employer already participates in some type of quality reporting system.

When asked what quality measures they deemed most important, more than 60​% said the documentation of fluoroscopy time for procedures performed by RAs. About 45% pointed to the rate of catheter-related bloodstream infections.

”The survey shows that radiologist assistants play a key role in providing patients with high-quality care and have the knowledge and skills to work alongside radiologists,” said Myke Kudlas, M.Ed., R.T.(R)(QM), CIIP, ASRT's chief academic officer. “In addition, the survey results show that RAs are interested in a voluntary reporting of quality measures, which will lead to even better patient care in the future.”

The ASRT sent questionnaires to 262 radiologist assistants in May 2015. A total of 111 people completed the survey for a response rate of 42.4​%.

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