This study explored interaction processes in conveying messages about the results of diagnostic imaging investigations in a public hospital complex in South Africa from the perspective of health care providers and patients.
The study was part of a qualitative inquiry into the interaction and communication processes relating to diagnostic imaging investigations in the public health care system. Data collection included individual interviews with 24 patients and 62 health care providers (ie, medical practitioners, specialists, radiologists, registrars, radiographers, and nurses). In addition, 12 focus group interviews were conducted with health care providers. The transcribed data were coded and analysed to identify categories and themes.
Three main themes emerged from the study. The first theme deals with the medical territory, specifically who should interpret and convey the diagnostic results to the patient. The second theme highlights the role of radiographers and nurses in communicating parts of the diagnostic results. The last theme focuses on patient experience, interpretation, and comprehension in the provider-patient communication process.
The findings provide a multidimensional view about the disclosure of imaging results to patients by medical and nonmedical health care providers. Further research is needed on the role of nonmedical providers in the context of ethical and moral obligation toward patients and the professional restrictions inherent in their scope of practice.