Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

Q&A: Writing the Book on Radiology Reports

Published on the Nov. 9, 2015, DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

For radiology and radiologists, their most significant work product is the radiology report. It provides guidance to referring physicians and plays an integral role in the design of a patient’s treatment plan. However, providers haven’t had much guidance on how to optimize the reports they produce in recent decades.

To change that and offer more clarity, Curtis Langlotz, MD, PhD, professor of radiology and medicine at Stanford University Medical Center, wrote The Radiology Report: A Guide to Thoughtful Communication for Radiologists and Other Medical Professionals, which was released last week.

Diagnostic Imaging spoke with him about why the book was necessary, the information he provides, and the impact he hopes the publication will make.

What was the impetus behind writing this book?

Considered as a whole, radiology reports are awful. Plenty of data in the literature backs up that claim: there is an appalling rate of clinically significant errors, reports that don’t answer the clinical question, dissatisfied clinicians, unnecessary hedging, and just a general lack of clarity. I wanted to help radiologists get better.

Most of my career has been focused on the radiology report in one way or another, and I found myself often lamenting the sorry state of affairs. One of the biggest problems was the lack of a comprehensive resource for radiologists, which leads to poor training and limited skills.

Then around 2005, it finally dawned on me that nobody else was going to write the book, so I probably should. I started collecting relevant literature, reporting pitfalls, and speech bloopers, and began thinking about how to organize the material. Writing doesn’t come easily to me, and style guides can be pretty dry, but it became a fun challenge to make the material interesting.  That was easier for some parts of the book than for others. I will leave it to the reader to judge whether that worked out.

To read the remainder of the story at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/pacs-and-informatics/qa-writing-book-radiology-reports


November 9, 2015 - Posted by | Healthcare | , ,

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