Clinicians view neuroradiology reports more than images, showing that radiologists' value ‘remains paramount’

In today’s era of quality over quantity, it’s important for radiologists to demonstrate their value by delivering high-quality radiology reports to clinicians. In some specialties, however, the clinicians don’t always necessarily view the full radiology reports or the images that accompany the reports.

The authors of a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology wanted to examine how often providers viewed reports and images in neuroradiology. To do this, they collected data on more than 7,000 neuroradiology studies ordered in September 2016. Overall, more than 85 percent of those reports and more than 53 percent of those imaging studies were viewed.

“The reports are viewed much more commonly than the images, suggesting radiologists’ value remains paramount,” wrote lead author Matthew D. Alvin, MD, MBA, MS, MA, Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution in Baltimore, and colleagues.

Inpatient neurosurgeons and neurologists viewed imaging and reports much more than primary care specialties, the authors noted. The trend carried over to the outpatient setting for neurosurgeons, but not neurologists.

The authors also found that, for more than 13 percent of the neuroradiology studies in question, neither the images nor the reports were viewed. That number was more than twice as high when looking specifically at the habits of neurologists.

“Given the costs of imaging and radiation exposure, this finding should be investigated further as to why these studies are performed and why they are not being addressed,” Alvin et al. wrote.