Radiology reporting of obesity: a survey of patient and clinician attitudes.

AIM: To determine whether obesity information obtained via imaging techniques is desirable for clinicians and patients, and to investigate whether it impacts clinical decision-making.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Parallel surveys were designed to assess patient and clinician attitudes to the medical utility and social stigma of reporting obesity on radiology reports performed for other reasons.

RESULTS: Where obesity was noted at medical imaging performed for any reason, clinicians and patients strongly agreed that it should be included in the radiology report (5.9 and 5.8, respectively, on a seven-point preference score ranging from strongly disagree [1] to strongly agree [7]). Clinicians and patients indicated a preference for a quantitative report. Clinicians somewhat disagreed and patients disagreed that a radiology report describing obesity would be considered insulting (3 and 2.1, respectively). Clinicians and patients agreed that they would be more likely to discuss overweight/obesity if it was described in a radiology report (5.3 and 6.1 respectively). Clinicians and patients agreed that radiology reports describing obesity would influence future management/behaviour (4.5 and 6.2, respectively). Clinicians strongly disagreed that they would avoid sending patients for scans if obesity was reported (1.3). Patients also disagreed that including such information on a report would result in imaging avoidance (1.9).

CONCLUSION: Both clinicians and patients indicate a clear preference for obesity-related information on radiology reports for examinations performed for any reason. Surveyed attitudes suggest including such information is not considered insulting, and is unlikely to result in avoidance of imaging.