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 two “C’s”, click the titles below to catch up on previous blogs.
The Third C: Confidence Level
One way to display your confidence level is to adopt the standardized language and structure applied to the reports, which has increased in popularity. In 2007, the American College of Radiology (ACR) Intersociety Conference concluded a few points related to this standardized language and structure. First is that structured reporting tools in no way impeded productivity. As such, a digital report template with stored macros of appropriate terminology is beneficial to the report creation. Second, the radiology professional organizations should “create a repository of exemplary reports based on standard vocabulary.” (3)
Again, having a set of macros in your software repository for faster generation and avoidance of word selection errors and misinterpretations can result with technology designed specifically for chiropractors needing biomechanical descriptors.
If a radiology report does not contain the standardized language and structure commonly used then there is more room for errors and misinterpretations. Along with our two “C’s” of clarity and being correct, creating a report that is error free is the next step in achieving all the benefits mentioned above. But remember, clarity, being correct, and displaying the appropriate confidence level are only the first three “C’s” of communicating in a modern practice. Make sure you return to learn more about the other “C’s” in future blogs.
- 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]
- Langlotz CP. The radiology report.Stanford: Langlotz; 2015. [Google Scholar]