Decision support to general practice in choice of chest imaging for patients with pulmonary symptoms

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INTRODUCTION. The choice of chest imaging for patients with respiratory problems is based on risk profile and symptoms. In 2018-2020, GPs in the catchment area of Silkeborg Regional Hospital, Denmark, were offered direct referral for either X-ray or low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) of the chest for patients with respiratory symptoms who did not meet the criteria for a contrast-enhanced CT (CECT) of the chest and upper abdomen as part of the lung cancer referral pathway. The aim of this study was 1) to estimate the percentage of patients referred for LDCT or chest X-ray who met CECT criteria based on the clinical information in the referral letters, and 2) to assess the GPs’ response to standard questions regarding the active feedback provided. METHODS. The study was conducted from April to October 2019. Radiographers initially assessed all referrals for X-ray or LDCT, and contacted the GPs if they assessed that symptoms and clinical characteristics justified CECT. RESULTS. In the study period, 1,112 referrals for chest imaging from GPs were received; in 97 cases (9%), the referral information warranted CECT as part of a lung cancer referral package. In 71% (69/97) of these cases, the GP accepted the conversion to CECT; 55 of 73 LDCTs and 14 of 24 X-rays. In 15 cases, the GP adhered to the requested imaging owing to clinical assessment or their agreement with the patient, and in the remaining 13 cases no specific reason was given. CONCLUSION. The feedback provided was well received by GPs and the approach adopted may be a step towards structured decision support to facilitate the choice of chest imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA12220769
JournalDanish Medical Journal
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • General Practice
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


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