Radiologists need training before adopting interactive multimedia reporting

Radiology has continuously been on the forefront of adopting new technologies. But at one institution, it took a bit of training and exposure to existing interactive multimedia reporting features before radiologists were willing to adopt it into clinical practice.

Steven D. Beesley, MD, with the department of radiology and medical imaging at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville enabled interactive multimedia reporting in 2016. The feature included an ability to add hyperlinks to reports which connected with imaging findings in the PACS.

Beesley and colleagues retrospectively combed through 559,841 diagnostic reports composed from July 2016 to February 2018, searching for text hyperlinks that interactively connected to imaging findings in the PACS. Their ultimate goal was to determine if radiologists found enough value in the reporting technology to adopt it into clinical practice. The team's study was published online Dec. 12 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Radiologists underwent a quick training course in month three of the 20-month study. At the final six months, the authors found hyperlinks were included in 49 percent, 26 percent and 11 percent of PET/CT, CT and MRI reports, respectively. The lowest modalities that included hyperlinks were ultrasound (2 percent), nuclear medicine (1.3 percent) and radiography (less than one percent). Results were subdivided by modality, reporting radiologist and subspecialty.

“We found that radiologists changed their reporting habits and commonly elected to create interactive multimedia reports containing active hyperlinks to imaging findings in the PACS,” Beesley et al. wrote. They added that the adoption of interactive reporting late into their study suggested the change takes time.

The team also found a majority of reports were first drafted by residents (47 percent), followed by attending physicians (40 percent) and fellows (13 percent).

While their results show radiologists do in fact adopt their technology was little training, the data on how often hyperlinks get clicked on remains a mystery.

“We know anecdotally that when reviewing a prior study, our radiologists find it helpful or time-saving to click the hyperlinks in the previous report, but we have not studied this impact directly,” the team concluded. “A next step is to quantify the impact of the interactive multimedia reports themselves—do report consumers click the hyperlinks, do they save time, and do they improve their understanding?”