RSNA2023 Leading Through Change
Daily Bulletin

Patient Engagement with Radiology Report Content

Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023

By Mary Henderson

How patients engage with their radiology reports and what frustrates them was the subject of a study during a Wednesday presentation.



"As the result of recent federal legislation, we're really in the age of the patient portal in American medicine," said Ryan Short, MD, assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "Prior studies show that up to 59 percent of patients are actually accessing their radiology report through online portals. But there's pretty limited data exploring patient experience and interaction with radiology reports in a real-world clinical setting."

Dr. Short and his collaborators built a software platform that transforms the radiology report into an interactive web page. The application's algorithms annotate the text of the radiology report with clickable hyperlinks that are linked to patient-centered content written by radiologists and intended for patient consumption.

"With modern web technologies, we're able to monitor and record how patient's use this program in the real world," he said. "In this study we aimed to evaluate patient engagement with this radiology report content to learn more about how patients are viewing their reports."

Patients Searched Definitions Of Terms They Identified As Impactful

The web-page style reports were delivered to patients at 10 imaging centers in and around Denver, Colorado. The researchers analyzed the use of the application between May 2021 and May 2022. Data collected during the study period included the number of annotated terms and phrases with clickable links in each report, how often each term was clicked and term click rates (the number of clicks divided by the number of annotations). Medical terms were also categorized according to the RadLex Tree Browser.

Over the year, there were 60,572 unique report views with 70 annotated terms per reports for a total of 4.26 million annotated terms. Of those terms, 7,000 were unique. The average click rate per report was 6.3 words for a total of 380,798 total clicks in the corpus of radiology reports over the year for an overall click rate of 8.9%.

The most annotated or most frequently seen term was 'findings.' The term with the highest click rate was chondromalacia (50.2%). Other terms with high click rates included anterolisthesis, chondral and joint effusion. Terms that were clicked at rates less than 7.5% included examination, millimeter, mass and lumbar spine. The RadLex categories with the highest click rates were clinical findings (e.g. hemangioma, cyst, pneumothorax) (16.7%) and imaging observation (lesion, nodule mass) (13.2%).

"Patients are pretty savvy when it comes to identifying terms and phrases in their reports that are potentially impactful for their health," Dr. Short said. "Our data suggests that patients are most interested in the potential pathology reported rather than the anatomical area or the technical details of the study."

"This is further evidence that patients want to understand their radiology report," he continued. "They are clicking on hundreds of thousands of terms. This is a really great opportunity for radiologists to continue to engage a captive patient audience."

Access the presentation, "Patient Engagement with Radiology Report Content: A Retrospective Analysis of 60,572 Radiology Report Views," (W1-SSNPM03-3) on demand at