Despite growing data showing the value of structured reporting (well summarized in a recent article in Academic Radiology), adoption is low. A survey of 265 academic radiologists from the US found that only 51% used structured radiology reports consistently. In private practice, the number is surely much lower.
One of the main reasons Clario got into the reporting business was our belief that software is partly to blame for low adoption, and it can, therefore, be fixed. Software tends to migrate to the extremes, giving rise to systems that are completely form based (BI-RADS style) implementations, or completely free-form narrative. Software designed to work in the gray area between these extremes needs to be adaptive to the user and the exam type. It is harder to write software that adapts in this way, but there are no shortcuts if we want to build the best system. Our vision for our reporting software is clear, help the radiologist generate the report which will have optimal impact on patient care.
Our "Patient Care" vision has impacted the software design and leads to new and interesting features. We have implemented "levels" of templating that the radiologist can switch to, based upon the clinical needs for a given case. We have made templates much easier to maintain through the use of reusable "blocks" in templates. We have created a peer review system that allows radiologists to flag template related issues.We have even created methods to comment on templates while dictating a case, allowing the radiologists to improve the templates without scheduling a separate meeting and wasting hours in special template committees.
We are now validating our software at practices around the country and are finding that customers are excited about what we are doing. Structured reporting was sold as something that would increase revenue or "satisfaction" by referring physicians. These are worthwhile goals, but when you can bring it back to patient care, radiologists get excited. And we are excited to be a part of that.