Views of Physicians in Training on the Ethical and Legal Issues in Preliminary Reporting of Echocardiographic Data

Robert W. McDonald, Mary Jo Rice, Christopher P. Marcella, Mark D. Reller, Randal L. Imus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cardiac sonographers may be pressured by physicians into giving diagnostic interpretations of echocardiographic data. This study investigated the issue of preliminary reporting of echocardiographic data. A questionnaire was sent to 292 physicians; 85 physicians (29%) responded. Seventy-two physicians (87%) thought they had more than a minimal knowledge of echocardiography, 94% wanted a written or verbal preliminary report, and 84% thought that giving a preliminary report should be part of the cardiac sonographer's job. If abnormalities were found, 80% wanted the results before a cardiologist reviewed the study, and 56% would want a diagnostic rather than a descriptive report. Fifty-four physicians (64%) would pressure the cardiac sonographer into giving a preliminary echocardiographic report and would use this information to manage the patient. The majority of the physicians thought that it is legal for the cardiac sonographer to give a preliminary echocardiogram report. Eighty percent said that the cardiac sonographer would not be “practicing medicine without a license,” and 82% that the sonographer would not be “aiding and abetting the unauthorized practice of medicine.” This data would indicate that physicians at Oregon Health Sciences University want the cardiac sonographer to give preliminary echocardiographic results, even though the sonographer may be breaking state statutes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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