Structured reporting system earns rave reviews from radiologists, referring providers

The use of a structured template for brain tumor imaging can improve how radiologists and ordering physicians view radiology reports, according to new research published in Academic Radiology.

The researchers, led by Brent D. Weinberg, MD, PhD, of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, surveyed faculty members, house staff members and other providers involved in treating brain tumor patients. Using responses to that survey, they

They used the results from that survey to develop a structured reporting system specifically for brain tumors—the Brain Tumor Reporting and Data System (BT-RADS)—and implemented it across the neuroradiology department at a single institution. 

Nine months after implementation, the researchers issued a follow-up 27 question survey to those same providers. A total of 53 brain tumor care providers responded to the initial survey, while 38 responded to the follow up survey. Upon analysis, Weinberg and colleagues found:

  • There were improved attitudes across multiple areas after implementation of BT-RADS, including report consistency, report ambiguity, radiologist and ordering physician communication, facilitation of patient management and confidence in reports. 
  • Ordering providers were more satisfied with the BT-RADS structured reporting system than the previous system.
  • After nine months, 81 percent of brain tumor reports were completed using the new template.

“These findings underscore the advantages of structured reporting when interpreting complex MRI reports in patients with post-treatment brain tumors,” the researchers wrote. “Not only were referring providers more satisfied with the reports, most respondents believed the BT-RADS reporting method would facilitate research.”

Further study, Weinberg and colleagues wrote, will allow for more quantitative understanding of how the structured templates will contribute to better patient care.