OBJECTIVE. The goal of this study was to evaluate the difference in patient satisfaction, timeliness of reporting, patient recollection of recommendations, and patient anxiety before and after passage of the Mammography Quality Standards Reauthorization Act of 1998, which requires written notification of all mammographic results. MATERIALS AND METHODS. We used a telephone survey with sampling that was stratified to reflect patients with normal and abnormal findings who had screening and diagnostic mammograms. Patients with visits before the mandate became effective (April 1999, n = 298) and after (January 2000.n = 316) were interviewed about the average time to receive results, satisfaction with communication about results, anxiety, and perceived follow-up recommendations. Multiple logistic regression was used to test the association of time period with patient dissatisfaction, controlling for age, anxiety level (considerable or extreme vs none or moderate), examination type (screening vs diagnostic), and examination result (normal vs abnormal findings). RESULTS. No significant difference was found between periods in anxiety about results or agreement with documented radiology recommendations, but we found a substantial increase in the number of screening patients who reported timely receipt of results. Significantly fewer patients were dissatisfied with mammographic results communication after the mandate (multivariable odds ratio = 0.46, p = 0.006). Screening examination patients and patients who reported considerable or extreme anxiety about test results were more likely to be dissatisfied in both periods. CONCLUSION. By standardizing results notification, the Mammography Quality Standards Reauthorization Act improved patient satisfaction and reporting timeliness among screening examination patients, but did little to improve anxiety or recollection of recommendations. Future quality improvement efforts should focus on improving patients' understanding of followup recommendations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging