Increasing Demand for Coherent Medical Reports
The primary purpose of a medical report is to gain a clear picture of what medical condition the patient is suffering from. Based on the report, the physicians suggest an effective remedial and treatment measure. But with increased knowledge and engagement from the patients, they are now demanding easy to understand reports that they can decipher without a doctor’s consultation.
Reasons Why Patients are Demanding Patient Accessible Reports
In today’s times, patients are not blindly trusting their physicians, but they want to understand their medical report first before making the final decision. It is true, informed patients are now making decisions about their health on their own. Before going for a surgery or a major procedure, they want to discuss with a number of doctors, compare their statements, and make an informed decision that is best suitable for their condition and budget.
Even if it is a regular routine exam, when the patients are able to understand the report, they can foresee their upcoming diseases and work towards preventing them. For instance, if a patient’s cholesterol level is near the higher side, he/she can make certain lifestyle changes so that it can be kept under control before it becomes too late.
These days, when every kind of information is easily available on the internet, patients expect their healthcare providers to clearly explain their risks and problems. While the traditional medical reports include only facts and statistics with some sketchy solutions, they cannot be comprehended by a layman. But now, steps are being taken to make these reports coherent, so that patients and their families with no medical knowledge can also understand them easily.
A Survey in Support
A team of physicians from the Emory University School of Medicine conducted a survey in which they approached a number of volunteers and asked them which type of chest x-ray reports they understand better, structured or freestyle. The authors of the survey mentioned that the participants preferred structured reports over freestyle ones while going through chest radiographs with negative indications.
During the survey, the respondents acknowledged that they find it easier to understand structured reports and if their tests show negative indications, they feel less need of following up. Since AI and online infrastructure is making a strong footing in the radiology field, stakeholders are expected to follow a structured approach towards making their reports. Since patient satisfaction is of utmost importance during follow-ups, the results of this survey make it even more important to give easy access to reports to the patients.
Qualities of a Structured Medical Report
Here are a few qualities that make a medical report structured and easy to understand:
- The report should be high in quality, devoice of any voice recognition, spelling or grammar errors. This seems to be a no brainer, but due to increasing loads on the radiology departments, adequate proofreading may not be possible every time.
- Minimum use of abbreviations ensures that there is no chance of miscommunication between you and your report. A detailed report with full forms makes the report clear and comprehensible.
- Any medical report cannot be made without a certain degree of imaging and medical-related terminology, but such terms can make the report difficult to understand for a common man.
One trick is to use such terminology at the minimum and include a report summary especially written for the patients with no medical knowledge. This will allow the radiologists to use the needed terms in the report for the physician’s reference, and at the same time not confusing the patients.
- Any inappropriate context should be avoided and not included in the report. For instance, a certain degree of disc desiccation is expected with age, and it should not be included in a patient’s MRI report who is already in his 50’s, unless it is inflamed or needs correction.
- Traditional medical reports are black & white in color with loads of textual information. You have to go through each and every sentence to understand the condition and its severity. On the other hand, a structured report should have color-coding to indicate the severity of a condition.
If doctors are provided traditional medical reports, they would keep analyzing the report during the appointment instead of interacting with the patient. During a short appointment, the doctors may also miss some important information that needs attention. However, if the doctor has a structured report in hand, they can quickly go through it and explain the targets and goals to the patient more appropriately. Accordingly, they can devise a treatment plan and make a follow-up schedule.
A report that summarizes a patient’s condition really well is more expected in today’s medical industry. Color coding the report can help the patient as well as the doctor to understand it better.
We at sepStream® help you create perfect and structured radiology reports so that patients can even understand them without their doctor’s help. Such reports also make it easier for the doctors to comprehend the report and make an appropriate treatment plan for the patients. So, call us for further guidance and earn all the benefits mentioned above.