Can audiovisual reports improve MSK radiology reporting?

An audio/visual reporting tool integrated into an emergency department’s musculoskeletal workflow can improve communication between radiologists and referring providers while making imaging findings easier to comprehend.

Audiovisual reporting tools allow radiologists to move a mouse and point to relevant findings while speaking. These videos can be integrated into a PACS reporting workflow and may serve as a complementary aide to help convey the details of difficult cases, wrote Luis Pecci Neto, Hospital do Coração (HCor) and Teleimagem in São Paulo, Brazil, and colleagues.

“Providing clinicians with a supplemental audiovisual report could deliver an engaging experience similar to an in-person consult with the radiologist focused on simplification of a complicated case,” Neto et al. wrote in the Aug. 20 study published in the Journal of Digital Imaging. “Those videos contents could be viewed at the convenience of the ordering provider to minimize disruptions in workflow and retain the radiologist’s essential role in a multidisciplinary team.”

During the two-month study, the team had seven radiologists create 47 audiovisual reports for attending orthopedic surgeons in the emergency department. The reports were prepared for nine surgeons and included two minute videos focusing on pertinent positives or negatives of a musculoskeletal case. Videos were created for all exams and uploaded into the institution’s PACS.

Clinicians were encouraged, but not required, to view the videos and asked to gauge their experience via a questionnaire. A similar questionnaire was administered after the two month study period.

Most questioned yielded statistically significant positive responses including: if the clinical suspicion was answered in the video; willingness to use such technology in other cases; if the audiovisual report made the imaging findings more understandable than the traditional report; and if the audiovisual report is faster to understand than the traditional text report.

Additionally, 18.2% of participants said they preferred the text report to the audiovisual report and 72.8% agreed that it might not be needed in less complicated cases. One-hundred percent of ordering physicians said the audiovisual report improved their understanding of complex cases.

“Based on the data obtained in this research, the audiovisual report seems to have potential for application in routine professional practice with a good response in terms of agility of evaluation and quality of information passed on to ordering physicians, helping in decision-making, especially in cases of high complexity,” the researchers wrote.

One interesting finding, according to the authors, was that most of the referring physicians were not willing to share the audiovisual report with family or patients. This may be because clinicians are unsure of if patients will understand such videos, Neto and colleagues hypothesized.

“Our study suggests that the audiovisual report has potential to replace conventional text-based reports, as it showed to be easier and faster to understand and to answer clinical questions in all cases,” the authors concluded. “The transformation of audiovisual report into a billable and profitable radiology activity with the potential of replacing the traditional text report will likely be determined by its acceptance by radiologists, ordering physicians and patients, after its widespread acknowledgement and proven effectiveness for healthcare improvement.”