Communication is a key component of success, but perhaps never more so than in the health care professions. When you communicate clearly with your patients, you have a much greater chance to connect, educate, gain their trust, and thus achieve better patient compliance to treatment. And one of the best ways to communicate clearly with a patient is through a radiology report.
The important point to remember is that there are two major components to a radiology report. First is the interpretation of the study which involves the identification and recognition of the salient findings and using them to arrive at a diagnosis or a differential diagnosis (in other words, a suggested pathway for further investigation). The second component is the equally important element of communicating those findings and conclusions clearly, usefully, and unequivocally in a report. Mastering one component does not necessarily mean success in the other. (1)
Patients place a high value on procedural correctness and clear communication with their radiologist or the chiropractor as the de facto clinician in ordering and reading the x-ray images. Patients want and need information provided that outlines the procedures being ordered, an explanation of the results, and a personal consultation regarding the findings. A lack of or incomplete communication is often found to be a cause of dissatisfaction among patients and could suggest a means of improving patient outcomes as measured by Value-Based Health Care metrics.
Throughout the next seven blogs, we will look at the six “C’s” of effective communication in a modern chiropractic practice and those six lead to an important seventh we will begin to outline in our final blog. These six “C’s” are attributed to Armas in his study (2) of the qualities of a good radiology report. If you missed the first three “C’s”, click the titles below to catch up on previous blogs.
The Seventh C: Communication
And finally, each of these six “C’s” comes together to comprise the most important of them all: Communication. Using technology to help generate those radiology reports and inserting images of the radiographs directly into the report with biomechanical annotations and measurements helps to visually communicate to the patient what is happening with their spine in terms they can understand as opposed to just words on a page.
Having the ability to create these educational moments more quickly with the use of digital x-ray software technology allows the doctor to save time, provides a more professional presentation to the patient, and ultimately achieves greater patient satisfaction. This all leads to better care plan compliance, more referrals, and a gold standard reputation in the doctors’ community.
We hope these seven steps to creating an effective radiology report will help bring you into the modern era of chiropractic communication so you can better serve the patients in your community. If you missed any of the previous blogs, make sure you click the links above to catch up.
- Bosmans JML, Weyler JJ, De Schepper AM, Parizel PM. The radiology report as seen by radiologists and referring clinicians: results of the COVER and ROVER surveys. Radiology. 2011;259:184–195. doi: 10.1148/radiol.10101045. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
- Armas RR. Letter: qualities of a good radiology report. AJR. 1998;170:1110. doi: 10.2214/ajr.170.4.9530077. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]