Provider perspectives of patient experiences in primary care imaging

Monica L.Zigman Suchsland, Victoria Hardy, Ying Zhang, Patrick D. Vigil, Kimberly L. Collins, William M. Woodhouse, Roger Chou, Steven D. Findlay, Danielle C. Lavallee, Matthew J. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Imaging tests are a widely used tool in primary care with many known benefits. Without an understanding of which outcomes matter the most to patients, clinicians are challenged to balance the benefits and harms of imaging tests. This study aimed to explore the perceived impacts imaging tests have on patients from the perspective of the primary care providers (PCPs) and determine PCPs' understanding of patient-centered outcomes (PCOs) from imaging tests. Methods: Recruitment of PCPs occurred at 4 family medicine clinics in Washington and Idaho. Primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants who order imaging tests were eligible to participate. Semistructured interviews explored providers' perceptions of patient experiences during the process of ordering, performing and following up on imaging tests. Classic content analysis generated themes and subthemes. Results: Sixteen PCPs, including 11 physicians, 3 physician assistants, and 2 nurse practitioners, completed interviews. Two themes were identified: 1) perceived PCOs, and 2) factors influencing the incorporation of PCOs into clinical management. Perceived outcomes included emotions related to the answer a test provides and costs to the patient such as monetary, physical, and added risk. Patient expectations, provider-patient communication, and inadequate knowledge all contributed as barriers to incorporating PCOs into clinical management. Discussion: PCPs recognize different outcomes of imaging tests that they consider important for patients. While providers are perceptive to patient outcomes there remains a challenge to how patient outcomes are used to improve care. Communication with patients and improving provider knowledge are needed to incorporate identified PCOs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-397
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019


  • Family physicians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Primary health care
  • Qualitative research
  • Shared decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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