Study Finds High Patient Stress in Rad Waiting Rooms

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Patients experience more waiting room stress than you may think. A new study in Radiology on patient stress levels in the waiting room has implications for diagnostic radiology executives.

Elvira V. Lang, MD, Department of Radiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass, and one of the study authors says she was amazed by how high the stress and depression levels were in the patients who were having an outpatient diagnostic test. The average stress was equal to that found in patients having procedures requiring hospitalization and the depression levels were nearly high enough to qualify as clinical depression.

However, if staff were trained to speak to patients in a specific comforting ways — what she calls "comfort talk" — the stress and depression may be lower.

Listen to Dr. Lang discuss the survey starting at the 11 minute mark in the July Radiology podcast.

—Lena Kauffman