Appropriateness of imaging studies ordered by emergency medicine residents: Results of an online survey

R. Joshua Dym, Judah Burns, Benjamin H. Taragin

11 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study is to determine the proficiency of emergency medicine residents in selecting appropriate radiologic examinations for specific clinical scenarios and to ascertain whether their training improves competency in this area over the course of their residency. MATERIALS AND METHODS. An online multiple-choice questionnaire was created. It included 10 clinical scenarios excerpted from the American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria guidelines and instructed residents to select the most appropriate initial imaging study. A link and invitation to the survey were e-mailed to the residency program directors and coordinators of all American Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited emergency medicine residency training programs with the request that they be forwarded to their current residents. Responses were graded, with correct answers derived from the American College of Radiology guidelines. Results were stratified by year of emergency medicine training, and an analysis of variance was performed. RESULTS. A total of 583 residents from at least 77 different emergency medicine residency training programs completed the survey. Overall, the average number of questions answered correctly was 7.1 of 10 (SD, 1.2). First-through fourth-year residents averaged 6.9 (SD, 1.3), 7.1 (SD, 1.2), 7.1 (SD, 1.1), and 7.5 (SD, 1.1) correct answers, respectively. Analysis of variance found no significant difference between the scores of the four classes (p = 0.09). CONCLUSION. Emergency medicine residents do not show significant improvement over the course of their residency in their ability to choose appropriate imaging studies. This finding suggests that there is a role for more-rigorous focused instruction to better familiarize residents with appropriateness guidelines for diagnostic imaging selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)W619-W625
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2013



  • American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria
  • Emergency medicine
  • Guidelines
  • Resident education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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