Clinicians' appraisal of sonography

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Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

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*Attitude of Health Personnel; Evaluation Studies as Topic; Hospitals, University; Humans; Massachusetts; *Physicians; Questionnaires; Referral and Consultation; *Ultrasonography


Bioinformatics | Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


The perceived efficacy of sonography in making diagnostic and management decisions in clinical practice was determined through a questionnaire survey of physicians who had recently referred patients to a university radiology department. Of 2,178 questionnaires sent, 1,611 were returned (74%). Sensitivity and specificity of sonography, corrected for verification bias, were 72% and 84%. Referring physicians considered the studies to be of value in arriving at the final diagnosis and in the clinical management of patients in approximately two-thirds of the cases. Results were considered of no value and misleading in 4% of the cases. Sonography was more accurate and was reported to be valuable by approximately 10% more physicians when a specific indication for an examination could be identified rather than when indications were vague and when sonographic findings were abnormal rather than normal (P less than .005). In general, sonography was of equal value to both specialists and nonspecialists. The results of this study suggest that sonography is, and is perceived by clinicians to be, an accurate and valuable clinical diagnostic modality.


Radiology. 1987 Oct;165(1):237-9.

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