Impact of a structured reporting template on the quality of HRCT radiology reports for interstitial lung disease

Clin Imaging. 2023 May:97:78-83. doi: 10.1016/j.clinimag.2023.03.004. Epub 2023 Mar 7.


Purpose: This QI study compared the completeness of HRCT radiology reports before and after the implementation of a disease-specific structured reporting template for suspected cases of interstitial lung disease (ILD).

Materials and methods: A pre-post study of radiology reports for HRCT of the thorax at a multicenter health system was performed. Data was collected in 6-month period intervals before (June 2019-November 2019) and after (January 2021-June 2021) the implementation of a disease-specific template. The use of the template was voluntary. The primary outcome measure was the completeness of HRCT reports graded based on the documentation of ten descriptors. The secondary outcome measure assessed which descriptor(s) improved after the intervention.

Results: 521 HRCT reports before and 557 HRCT reports after the intervention were reviewed. Of the 557 reports, 118 reports (21%) were created using the structured reporting template. The mean completeness score of the pre-intervention group was 9.20 (SD = 1.08) and the post-intervention group was 9.36 (SD = 1.03) with a difference of -0.155, 95% CI [-0.2822, -0.0285, p < 0.0001]. Within the post-intervention group, the mean completeness score of the unstructured reports was 9.25 (SD = 1.07) and the template reports was 9.93 (SD = 0.25) with a difference of -0.677, 95% CI [-0.7871, -0.5671, p < 0.0001]. After the intervention, the use of two descriptors improved significantly: presence of honeycombing from 78.3% to 85.1% (p < 0.0039) and technique from 90% to 96.6% (p < 0.0001).

Discussion: Shifting to disease-specific structured reporting for HRCT exams of suspected ILD is beneficial, as it improves the completeness of radiology reports. Further research on how to improve the voluntary uptake of a disease-specific template is needed to help increase the acceptance of structured reporting among radiologists.

Keywords: Disease-specific template; Interstitial lung disease; Report quality; Structured report.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography, Thoracic / methods
  • Radiography, Thoracic / standards
  • Radiology* / methods
  • Radiology* / standards
  • Radiology* / trends
  • Research Report* / standards
  • Research Report* / trends