Radiology and Jargon
by S. Terry Kraus, M.D.
There are some phrases that are used, particularly with radiologist, but have always driven me crazy. Some of these are “diagnostic for,” “consistent with,” “concerning for,” as well as, “possibly.”
There are, of course, other phrases that are ambiguous. I always felt it was more important to say, “I don’t know what it is, we need a follow-up exam.”
Perhaps we should go to the breast cancer mammography system:
0: I don’t know what it is, we need a follow-up exam.
3: Follow-up in 6 months
4: May be cancer, needs biopsy
5: Within 95% likelihood of absolutely cancer
It is not only confusing to me, but confusing to my patients. All patients have access to the radiology reports. I can only imagine how alarming it is for a patient shouldn’t to read “concerning for” or “there is a possibility of.”
“Old time” medical jargon should be excluded from all reports. This were eliminated confusion from physicians and anxiety from patients.
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