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Are Structured Radiology Reports Failing Physicians?

Discussion in 'Radiology' started by Nada El Garhy, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Nada El Garhy

    Nada El Garhy Golden Member

    May 23, 2016
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    Structured radiology reports are becoming more common, allowing radiologists to work quickly and document key coding and billing information. But according to a recent commentary published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, today’s radiology reports are increasingly unhelpful.


    The commentary, written by Richard B. Gunderman MD, PhD, with the department of radiology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, begins with the story of a veteran radiologist. He is embarrassed by a lot of radiology reports coming out of his department, saying they often leave ordering physicians confused. Department leadership, on the other hand, is happy about the reports, because they look exactly as they should.

    “They are ‘structured,’ meaning that each report contains the same elements in the same places,” Gunderman wrote. “And they contain all information necessary for coding and billing, enabling the practice to avoid leaving any available revenue uncollected. By some measures, in other words, these reports are just about as good as they could be. And yet, from the point of view of the physicians relying on them to care for patients, they are disappointingly unhelpful.”

    Gunderman wrote that “technically correct but clinically unhelpful reports” lose sight of the true meaning of radiology reports, which is to provide “a coherent, well, supported diagnostic impression that directly addresses key patient management questions while accurately reflecting the degree of confidence that the examination itself allows.”

    This disconnect creates the impression that radiologists care more about coding and billing information than patient care, according to Gunderman. He added that the reports are “often remarkably unfocused” and address matters in a “checklist-like fashion” instead of delivering helpful insight that can really impact patient care.

    “Radiologists need to understand and serve their true constituency—not coders, billers, business managers, or malpractice attorneys, but the physicians and other health professionals who entrust them with the care of their patients,” Gunderman concluded. “A radiology report is less a payment mechanism than an opportunity to enhance patient care.”


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  2. Dr.Yot

    Dr.Yot Young Member

    Aug 26, 2018
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    Truely agree.
    The structured report looked like created from a robot, not a physician, and less communicated information.
    But I wonder that some requested physicians still like this style and ask me why I do not report like this.

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