Original Research

Doctors’ perspectives on the quality of medical imaging in public hospitals in eThekwini District

Nkululeko P. Gam, Maureen N. Sibiya
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 29 | a2389 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v29i0.2389 | © 2024 Nkululeko P. Gam, Maureen N. Sibiya | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 March 2023 | Published: 07 May 2024

About the author(s)

Nkululeko P. Gam, Centre for Quality Promotion and Assurance, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Maureen N. Sibiya, Division of Research, Innovation and Engagement, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Durban, South Africa; and Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa


Background: There is a paucity of literature on perspectives of referring doctors about the quality of medical imaging services and this study closes this gap in literature.

Aim: This quality assurance (QA) study aimed to explore the perspectives of doctors on the quality of medical imaging services in selected regional hospitals within eThekwini District of KwaZulu-Natal.

Setting: The study was conducted in four public regional hospitals.

Methods: An exploratory descriptive qualitative research design involving 30 min–45 min of in-depth individual interviews was used. A purposive sampling technique was used to select research participants and hospitals to ensure adequate responses to the research questions. The sample involved nine participants and was guided by data saturation. Responses were recorded through notes and voice recordings and thematic analysis was used to analyse data.

Results: Three main themes (timeliness of examinations, communication and radiology reports and image quality) and eight subthemes (waiting times, shortage of radiographers, workload, communication between doctors and radiographers, requisition forms, unavailability of radiology reports, clarity of images and image acquisition protocols) emerged from the data. Challenges experienced were exacerbated by high workload and shortage of radiologists and radiographers. Doctors in the data collection sites were mainly dissatisfied with services provided by the medical imaging departments.

Conclusion: Regular engagements between medical imaging departments and doctors are important in enhancing the provision of quality care to patients. In-service training of radiographers and employment of additional radiographers and finding solutions to mitigate shortage of radiologists are recommended.

Contribution: This quality assurance (QA) study focused on experiences of doctors while many other medical imaging QA studies in South Africa are equipment based. In-service training of radiographers is recommended to improve image quality and communication skills.


medical imaging; radiology services; doctors; physicians; clinicians; experiences; challenges; quality assurance

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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