The creation of accessible, readable, and automatic multimedia radiology reports can improve and enhance the practice and satisfaction of referring physicians and improve patient care, according to an article published in the December issue of Academic Radiology.
Radiology reports remain the most common method through which radiologists communicate with referring physicians, but the way in the which such reports are produced hasn't changed much in the last century, according to lead study author Lina Nayak, M.D.
Consequently, Nayak and her colleagues decided to test the theory that the production of multimedia radiology reports could help referring physicians better understand them. They surveyed 1,800 physicians from multiple specialties at a large tertiary care institution in order to test that theory and quantify physicians' preference to multimedia-based reports compared to text-based reports.
Of the 160 physicians who responded to the survey, 142 (89 percent) were interested in a system that provided reports with embedded images. The researchers found that:
- 103 (73%) agreed or strongly agreed that reports with embedded images could improve the quality of interactions with radiologists;
- 129 respondents (91%) agreed or strongly agreed that having access to significant images enhances understanding of a text-based report;
- 110 respondents (77%) agreed or strongly agreed that multimedia reports would significantly improve referring physician satisfaction;
- 85 respondents (60%) felt strongly or very strongly that multimedia reports would significantly improve patient care and outcomes.
As reported in an article in AuntMinnie.com, 46 of the respondents provided free-text observations, and while many were enthusiastic about the idea of multimedia reporting, several also expressed concerns about the time necessary to download such reports.
Overall, however, the responses seemed to support the idea that there is value in providing multimedia reports.
"The results of our study suggest that multimedia reports have a very high perceived value amongst referring physicians and may have the potential for enhancing the practice of referring physicians, improving patient care and satisfaction, and highlighting the critical role radiology plays in current medical care," the authors concluded. "Therefore, creation of easily accessible, readable, and automatic multimedia reports should be a high priority."