Quality of chest radiograph reports

  • Hirvonen-Kari M
  • Sormaala M
  • Luoma K
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: Examination requests and imaging reports are the most important communication instruments between clinicians and radiologists. An accurate and clear report helps referring physicians make care decisions for their patients.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the contents of initial and re-reported chest reports, assess the inter-observer agreement, and evaluate the clarity of the report contents from the viewpoint of the referring physicians.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The content and agreement of the reports were analyzed by comparing the initial reports with re-reports prepared by a chest radiologist. The referring physicians evaluated the contents of 50 reports regarding their medical facts, clarity, and intelligibility. The results were analyzed using cross-over tables, the Pearson Chi-Square, and kappa statistics.

RESULTS: Radiologists mostly addressed the questions posed by the referring physicians. General radiologists included separate conclusions in their reports more frequently (22%) than the chest radiologist in her re-reports. Reports prepared by the chest radiologist contained nearly 50% more findings than the general radiologists' reports. Inter-observer agreement between the initial and specialist re-reported reports was 66%, but the kappa value was 0.31. The reports were considered clear/intelligible by the referring physicians in 68% of the initial reports by the general radiologists and in 94% of the re-reported studies by the chest radiologist.

CONCLUSION: Radiology report quality was rather high despite their contents varying depending on the radiologist. Inter-observer agreement of the chest radiographs was low due to the non-structured reports containing different quantities of information, thus complicating the comparison. Referring physicians considered both short and long radiology reports to be clear.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Inter-observer agreement
  • Radiology report
  • Referring physician
  • Request

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  • Mirja Hirvonen-Kari

  • Markus J. Sormaala

  • Katariina Luoma

  • Leena Kivisaari

  • Martina Lohman

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