Aim: To determine hospital consultants' preferences for the format and content of radiology reports.
Materials and methods: Ninety-nine questionnaires were sent to consultant staff with responsibility for requesting ultrasound examinations. The participants were invited to rank a variety of hypothetical reports in order of preference. They were also asked whether they felt other commonly included features of a radiology report were of value. Rank data were analysed by the Friedman statistic, Fisher's multiple comparisons least significant difference test, and the Kemeny-Young method.
Results: Forty-nine responses were received. There was a preference for more detailed reports that included a clinical comment by the radiologist, for both normal and abnormal results (p<0.05). Reports presented in tables were preferred. The combination of a detailed tabular report with a radiologist's comment was the most popular single structure, preferred by 43% of respondents for normal reports and 51% for abnormal reports.
Conclusion: Detailed reports with a radiologists' comment are preferred to briefer reports, even for normal examinations. Tabular reports are preferred to prose, with the combination of a detailed report presented in a tabular format accompanied by a radiologist's comment being the most preferred style.