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Are radiological errors preventable?

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Radiological errors are tragic because they will lead to diagnostic problems. Most often, a radiological test is part of the diagnosis process, and when a technician makes a mistake, it can lead to missing symptoms or signs of a serious disease or health condition.

The Radiological Society of North America explains that radiological errors are preventable. They should never happen, but the key to stopping them is understanding why they happen. Most mistakes in radiology are due to issues with perception or interpreting results.

Cognitive biases

One reason for errors is cognitive biases. These may be issues with reasoning, problem-solving or defaulting to the standard instead of seeing what is happening in reality. They can also happen when a worker is tired.

Shifting into a default mode when conducting testing is one of the easiest ways to introduce errors. A person may too quickly overlook something important, leading to erroneous results that harm the patient.


The way radiology professionals receive training has flaws. The apprentice style of training can lead to inconsistency in the process. As trainees move around different facilities, it can create confusion due to the varying policies the student will come up against.

There is also a lack of education about errors within the field. Not having the chance to identify what is going wrong and analyze the situation only leads to further problems and the inability to make corrections.

Ending radiological errors is a process of learning what causes the mistakes and identifying interventions to stop these things from happening again. With the right processes, such medical mistakes can become a thing of the past.