While opportunistically using medical reports to provide information to healthcare staff to help them make more judicious decisions may seem like simple common sense, we are actually using a form of intervention that is called a ‘nudge’ intervention that is based on psychological theory.
This was made famous by Richard Thaler, who was recognised for the wide implications of this theory by a Nobel Prize in October 2017. The application with regard to healthcare is an interesting one. Providing radiation feedback to clinicians is difficult to fault, as it is simply taking information from the text books and sharing it. Despite being a doctor for over 25 years, I have already learnt more about the size of the risks of ionising radiation exposure by being involved in this study, and I suspect that my clinical practice may have subtly changed as a result.
Some people consider that costs have no place in the front line of patient care, as it goes against the basic tenets of the NHS. Others think that anything that helps the finite budget of the NHS go a bit further is a good thing, as more people can be treated. I am in the latter camp.
Andrew Fogarty, December 2017