Clinical imaging experts' perspectives on the benefits and risks of sharing diagnostic radiological images with patients

William Cox, Penelope Cavenagh, Fernando Bello

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Introduction - Advancing technologies offer novel opportunities to share with patients their diagnostic radiological images.1;2  This sharing may occur within the clinical environment under the supervision of a clinician, or patients may involve remote, unsupervised access.2  However, the benefits and risks of such practices have not been widely explored.

Methods - A questionnaire was designed to measure respondent attitudes towards benefits and risks of image sharing utilising Likert scale type responses and a free text option.  The questionnaire was distributed to clinical imaging experts.  Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. 

Results - 121 responses were received.  The majority (81.2%, n=95) of respondents agreed that sharing images with patients was ‘a good idea’.  Respondents indicated overall agreement with several factors considered to contribute benefit4; 5; 6 including: 

Understanding – understanding information shared with them (87.6%, n=106) 

Communication – talking with their clinician (76.03%, n=92) and working in partnership (85.13%, n=103) 

Adherence – following their care plan (57.85%, n=70) and managing their own health (53.72%, n=65) 

Several risks were also identified.  These were primarily concerned with: 

Images being difficult for patients to interpret (36.36%, n=45) 

The potential for causing patient anxiety (27.28%, n=33). 

Conclusion - Respondents confirmed that sharing images with patients may provide benefits, but there are risks inherent to this process.   

There is a need, therefore, for further work seeking: 

Clarification of how identified benefits and risks can be effectively managed 

Patients’ perspectives surrounding this process 



1. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.  How it works.  Available at (accessed on 07 November 2017) 

2. Sectra.  Share and collaborate.  Available at (accessed on 07 November 2017) 

3. Cox, WAS, Cavenagh, P. & Bello, F. (2017) The diagnostic radiological image - identifying the benefits from the literature – Poster Presentation.  UKRC/O Congress,  12 - 14 June 2017. Manchester Central Convention Complex. 

4. Adams, RJ. (2010)  Improving health outcomes with better patient understanding and education, Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2010; 3: 61–72. 

5. Thompson, L & McCabe, R. (2012) The effect of clinician-patient alliance and communication on treatment adherence in mental health care: a systematic review, BMC Psychiatry, 12:87 

6. Coulter, A. (2012) Patient engagement – what works?, Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 35(2) 


IRAS Project ID 187752 

NHS REC Ref 17/LO/0864 

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted for publication - Mar 2018
EventUnited Kingdom Radiological and Radiation Oncology Congress - The ACC & Exhibition Centre, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Jul 20184 Jul 2018


ConferenceUnited Kingdom Radiological and Radiation Oncology Congress
Abbreviated titleUKRC
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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