Adequacy of completion of radiology request forms at St. Francis’ Hospital of Katete District: A clinical audit in Zambia

Mubanga Bwalya1,Osward Bwanga2, John. Y. Mvula3, Foster Munsanje4, Bretina Muntanga5

  1. St. Francis’ Central Hospital, Department of Imaging, Katete, Zambia. and University of Lusaka
  2. Midland University Hospital Tullamore, Radiology Department, Co. Offaly, Ireland
  3. St. Francis’ Central Hospital, Eye Services Unit, Katete, Zambia
  4. Evelyn Hone College, School of Applied Sciences, Lusaka, Zambia
  5. St Francis’ Hospital, Paediatrics Unit, Katete, Zambia

*Corresponding Authors: Mubanga Bwalya; E-mail:


Most imaging examinations use ionising radiation which causes biological effects on the body. For this reason, only justified examinations should be requested by adequately completing the radiology request form (RRF) by clinicians. The RRF allows radiographers and radiologists to assess if the benefit outweighs the risk associated with medical radiation exposure. Inadequately or incorrectly filled RRFs leads to unnecessary radiation exposures, imaging errors, and delays in performing the examination. Therefore, this study aimed at auditing the adequacy of completion of general RRFs at St. Francis’ Hospital of Katete District in Zambia.
This was a quantitative study in which RRFs for general radiography from January to December 2020 were audited. Data were collected retrospectively using a checklist from a total of 974 RRFs. The filled-in forms were assessed for completeness of information related to the patient, examination, and referring clinician. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. The standard of completeness was based on the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) guidelines requiring all the designated variables completed on the RRF.
Most N=881(90.5%), RRFs were incompletely filled. With regards to patient’s identification, the findings revealed N=4(0.5%), N=597(61.3%), N=3(0.4%), and N=2(0.3%) RRFs devoid of patient’s name, hospital number, age, and gender, respectively. Regarding the examination, the findings revealed N=3(0.4%), N=68(7%), N=449(46.2%), and N=336 (37%) RRFs devoid of requested examination, indication, clinical history, and level of urgency, respectively. Regarding the referrer, the findings revealed N=135(13.9%), N=173(17.8 %), N=472(48.5%), and N=31(3.2%) RRFs were devoid of information relating to the ward, clinicians’ name, referring department, and signature, respectively.
This audit reports that most of the RRFs were incompletely filled-in at St. Francis’ Hospital. Furthermore, the hospital number, clinical history and level of urgency were the frequently unfilled variables. Overall, there were gaps in completion of RRFs requiring remedying.

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