Edward J. Carbone, a shareholder in the Health Care Section of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney's Tampa office, was quoted in an article published in the May 2010 issue of Health Care Risk Management. The article, titled "Radiology risks center on communication," discussed radiology malpractice and how it is most often tied to communication issues.

As explained in the article, "In radiology, the real malpractice risk begins after the technicians have performed the imaging study and the doctor has interpreted the results. It's what happens to that information from that point on that usually determines whether a lawsuit will result." One industry expert explained it as, "Whether it's communicating with the patient or the referring doctor, it always seems that someone dropped the ball in conveying what was found and whether or not it was urgent, needed follow up, how much follow up was needed, whether more views were needed. The communication practices vary from office to office, and people rely on these imperfect methods of communication — a fax, an e-mail, a letter — and don't follow through to make sure that the information got to the right person."

The article went on to examine how such communication issues can put hospitals at risk. Carbone weighed in saying, "Premature discharge of emergency department patients can increase the risk for radiology malpractice. Although the hospital should have a reliable methodology for contacting that patient when the imaging results are read, the reality is that it becomes more difficult to communicate the results after the patient walks out the door."

"When communication is so critical to this process, you will always be better off streamlining the communication as much as possible," Carbone advised. "When you have a choice, opt for the more direct line of communication rather than relying on trying to track down the person later."