Glow of Contentment: A Review of Factors that Affect Patient Satisfaction and Retention in Nuclear Medicine, Especially During COVID-19

Author Type(s)

Faculty, Resident/Fellow

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Nuclear Medicine




Introduction: The importance of patient satisfaction has long been recognized and is becoming increasingly emphasized by healthcare systems in the United Stated. Radiology is no exception to this phenomenon. With the nuclear medicine volumes slowly recovering following the decrease in patient demand since COVID 2020, it is has become progressively important to keep patient satisfaction and retention high.

This project aims to identify factors that drive the patient experience so that nuclear medicine practices can improve the quality of their diagnostic imaging services.

Methods: Patient satisfaction remains most important to retention of patients in nuclear medicine and radiology. The patient experience is important and radiology practice; patient experience; patient satisfaction; and professionalism are cornerstones to maintaining a referral base.

Understanding and application of empathy is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results: It was found that three core patient experience constructs are reliably defined in patient satisfaction surveys in radiology-specific outpatient sites: front office experience, intake experience and examination experiences. Though issues related to examination experiences such as comfort during examinations, qualities of facilities, and radiology report itself was deemed important, 75% of feedback comments were related to professional staff behaviors. Employees that were most recognized by comments on surveys were technologists (50%) and receptionists (32%). Nuclear medicine physicians and radiologists were only mentioned in 2% of time.

Conclusions: There are various solutions to help improve patient comments: easy appointment booking with a system that is easy to navigate and professional, prompt answering of patient phone calls with limited holding time, fast appointment check-in and shorter waiting times, and improving communications between the patients and stuff. It is important to be clear and direct, answer questions/ provide opportunities for questions, initiate positive interactions, and stay in character.

All these factors are most important for patient satisfaction and retention, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.