Rationale and objectives: Radiology reports are the major, and often only, means of communication between radiologists and their referring clinicians. The purposes of this study are to identify referring physicians' preferences about radiology reports and to quantify their perceived value of multimedia reports (with embedded images) compared with narrative text reports.
Materials and methods: We contacted 1800 attending physicians from a range of specialties at large tertiary care medical center via e-mail and a hospital newsletter linking to a 24-question electronic survey between July and November 2012. One hundred sixty physicians responded, yielding a response rate of 8.9%. Survey results were analyzed using Statistical Analysis Software (SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC).
Results: Of the 160 referring physicians respondents, 142 (89%) indicated a general interest in reports with embedded images and completed the remainder of the survey questions. Of 142 respondents, 103 (73%) agreed or strongly agreed that reports with embedded images could improve the quality of interactions with radiologists; 129 respondents (91%) agreed or strongly agreed that having access to significant images enhances understanding of a text-based report; 110 respondents (77%) agreed or strongly agreed that multimedia reports would significantly improve referring physician satisfaction; and 85 respondents (60%) felt strongly or very strongly that multimedia reports would significantly improve patient care and outcomes.
Conclusions: Creating accessible, readable, and automatic multimedia reports should be a high priority to enhance the practice and satisfaction of referring physicians, improve patient care, and emphasize the critical role radiology plays in current medical care.
Keywords: Multimedia reports; communication; digital images; radiology practice; radiology reporting.
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