Improving the quality of radiology reporting: A physician survey to define the target

Annette Johnson, Jun Ying, J. Shannon Swan, Linda S. Williams, Kimberly E. Applegate, Benjamin Littenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Purpose Our long-term goal is to improve the quality of reports in radiology imaging interpretation. The rationale for this project focused on identifying the characteristics of a high-quality report from the perspective of referring physicians and radiologists. Methods We undertook a survey of physician faculty at a large Midwestern academic medical center (including university, children's, veteran's, county and private practice hospitals) regarding radiology report quality concepts. Results Using a 5-point Likert scale, >95% of respondents indicated the highest importance rating (score=5) for radiology report characteristic "Accurate," with mean score of 4.94. Seventy-eight to 83% of respondents considered "Clear," "Complete" and "Timely" to have the highest importance rating, with means of these scores between 4.73 and 4.79. Somewhat less desirable characteristics included "Well-organized" and "Mentions pertinent negatives" - though radiologists tended to think the latter was less important than did all other categories of physician respondents. The single greatest problem area in reporting is lack of timeliness. Using a 10-point Likert scale, respondents gave a median score of seven for overall satisfaction with current reporting. Conclusions For high-quality radiology reporting, accuracy is most important. Clarity, completeness and timeliness are also very important. Radiologists tend to consider mentioning pertinent negatives as less important than do referring physicians; otherwise, respondents from different specialties largely agreed on which characteristics are most important for high-quality reports. There is room for improvement in physician satisfaction with radiology reporting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-505
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Physician survey
  • Quality improvement
  • Radiology reporting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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