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Diagnostic imaging

Review of radiologist finds 2% error rate

REGINA – A review of a Yorkton, Sask., radiologist who was suspended from work earlier this year while being reviewed for the quality of his readings has found that only about 2% of roughly 40,000 examinations he performed had the potential to negatively affect the patient.

In late November, the Sunrise Health Region released its latest set of findings on the work of Dr. Darius Tsatsi (pictured), who was one of three radiologists with privileges at Yorkton Regional Health Centre, about 200 kilometres northeast of Regina.

In May, Dr. Tsatsi agreed to a voluntary suspension while the Saskatchewan Health Ministry ordered a massive review of his work.

That review is still under way, with 39,711 out of 47,646 radiology exams having been re-read.

The health region says 946 of those exams – or 2.38% – have “discordances” that could affect the patient. It didn’t say whether anyone’s health was affected, only that there was a potential for it to have been affected.

Another 5,804 (14.6%) were considered “substantially correct with minor discrepancies.” With the rest, there was no difference of interpretation. The region didn’t provide any analysis of the numbers or say what an acceptable problem rate is.

However, other sources say an error rate of 3% to 5% is typical  for radiology readings.

The exams reviewed in Saskatchewan were initially done in the period from 2007 to 2009. Those that still remain to be reviewed are from 2004 to 2006.

Dr. Tsatsi had worked for the Sunrise Health Region for about five years when the region and the provincial Ministry of Health announced in May that a retrospective review had been ordered into more than 69,000 diagnostic images he’d read.

The audit was triggered by the findings of a quality assurance review conducted by the college last year, which had identified a number of variances in the interpretation of some of the images.

Posted Dec.10, 2009