Is interactive multimedia reporting ‘ready for prime time’? Researchers think so

Imaging technology has made massive advancements over the past 100 years—but the same cannot be said for diagnostic radiology reporting.

A pair of researchers from the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Virginia, asked themselves if the “archaic” form of communication could be upgraded in an article published online May 2 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

“In our experience, it can be done efficiently and effectively. There are technical hurdles to jump and cultural change to foster, but our experiences prove these to be surmountable tasks,” wrote Steven D. Beesley, MD and Cree M. Gaskin, MD.

The team implemented a hybrid viewing-reporting application into its institution’s PACS in 2016.

Two types of hyperlinks were added to the imaging results category of the electronic health record (EHR), although their current version was only built for plain-text reporting.

One link launched a PDF file from a document management system integrated with the EHR. The other led to a web-based image viewer that also displayed the interactive multimedia report alongside the full imaging study.

Once radiologists were educated, Beesley et al. observed an increase in multimedia reporting followed by sustained use and continued growth.

Authors found the option to add images directly into reports conveyed more detail than text alone, and “may allow more concise descriptions, potentially offering the radiologist overall savings in report creation time.”

Similarly, hyperlinks that are underlined and highlighted by default bring attention to important imaging findings, and may save time for a radiologist, referring provider, trainee or patient.

“The use of hyperlinked text eliminates the time spent hunting the prose report for pertinent findings, identifying the series and image number, opening the viewing platform, and scrolling to the image of interest,” authors wrote.

Overall, they argued multimedia reports can be implemented in a way that doesn’t increase workload, but rather enhances collaboration between team members to more quickly and efficiently identify abnormalities.

“Is interactive multimedia reporting ‘ready for prime time?’ Our answer is yes,” Beesley et al. added.