Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

Room for Improvement in Radiology Reports

Published on the May 5, 2016, DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

It’s no secret within the industry or health care, as a whole, that the radiology report is the main way you convey your thoughts and diagnosis about a patient’s medical condition and needs. That’s been a radiological truth for more than a century.

But, times are changing – and, according to experts, so are expectations around your most important deliverable.

“The days are numbered when we can simply start with a blank page, pick up a microphone, and tell a story about what we see,” said Curtis Langlotz, MD, professor of radiology and medicine at Stanford University. “Referring clinicians, payers, and patients are all demanding higher quality, which requires some degree of consistency and organization.”

These changes are necessary, he said, because current reports make identifying critical information difficult. Your referring physicians are short on time, and succinct reports that follow a consistent pattern will streamline workflow and patient care.

In his latest book, The Radiology Report: A Guide to Thoughtful Communication for Radiologists and Other Medical Professionals, Langlotz addresses the challenges radiologists face when composing their reports and what the field can expect, overall, in the near future. Currently, drafting a quality radiology report is fraught with challenges. Are you avoiding clinically significant errors? Are you answering all clinical questions? Do you have dissatisfied referring clinicians? Do you unnecessarily hedge your diagnoses?

Until recently, the efficiency and affordability of dictation have been the main reasons behind slow reporting advancements, he said. Now, however, the biggest hurdle is mastering the swiftly-changing technology needed to upgrade and update your reports.

But, overcoming these stumbling blocks is critical, he said, especially in the face of changing payment systems and increasing quality reporting requirements. Your reports must be clear and concise, and they must include clinically meaningful and actionable information.

Ultimately, he said, many radiologists need better guidance on how to establish habits that will lead the consistent creation of useful radiology reports. And, as you look for tools that will accommodate bold face, underlying, tables, and multimedia components in your reports, Langlotz said, vendors will likely follow suit.

“As radiology practices try to adapt more consistent and efficient reporting formats, I suspect vendors will respond,” he said.

To read the remainder of the article at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/pacs-and-informatics/room-improvement-radiology-reports

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May 5, 2016 - Posted by | Healthcare | , , , ,

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