Radiologists' perspectives about evidence-based medicine and their clinical practice: a semistructured interview study

20 February 2017

Objectives: To describe radiologist’s attitudes and perspectives on evidence-based medicine (EBM) and their practice. Design: Face-to-face semistructured interviews, thematic analysis. Setting: 24 institutions across six Australian states and New Zealand. Transcripts were imported into HyperRESEARCH software and thematically analysed. Participants: 25 radiologists. Results: Six themes were identified: legitimising decisions (validated justification, prioritising patient preferences, reinforcing protocols), optimising outcomes (ensuring patient safety, maximising efficiency), availability of access (requiring immediacy, inadequacy of evidence, time constraints, proximity of peer networks, grasping information dispersion), overriding pragmatism ( perceptibly applicability, preserving the art of medicine, technical demands), limited confidence (conceptual obscurity, reputation-based trust, demands constant practice, suspicion and cynicism), and competing powers (hierarchical conflict, prevailing commercial interests). Conclusions: Radiologists believe EBM can support clinical decision-making for optimal patient outcomes and service efficiency but feel limited in their capacities to assimilate and apply EBM in practice. Improving access to evidence, providing ongoing education and training supplemented with practical tools for appraising evidence; and developing evidence-based guidelines and protocols may enhance feasibility and promote the confidence and skills among radiologists in applying EBM in radiology practice for better patient care.