A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Needs Assessment for Multimedia Radiology Reports in a Large Tertiary Care Medical Center

      Rationale and Objectives

      Radiology reports are the major, and often only, means of communication between radiologists and their referring clinicians. The purposes of this study are to identify referring physicians' preferences about radiology reports and to quantify their perceived value of multimedia reports (with embedded images) compared with narrative text reports.

      Materials and Methods

      We contacted 1800 attending physicians from a range of specialties at large tertiary care medical center via e-mail and a hospital newsletter linking to a 24-question electronic survey between July and November 2012. One hundred sixty physicians responded, yielding a response rate of 8.9%. Survey results were analyzed using Statistical Analysis Software (SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC).


      Of the 160 referring physicians respondents, 142 (89%) indicated a general interest in reports with embedded images and completed the remainder of the survey questions. Of 142 respondents, 103 (73%) agreed or strongly agreed that reports with embedded images could improve the quality of interactions with radiologists; 129 respondents (91%) agreed or strongly agreed that having access to significant images enhances understanding of a text-based report; 110 respondents (77%) agreed or strongly agreed that multimedia reports would significantly improve referring physician satisfaction; and 85 respondents (60%) felt strongly or very strongly that multimedia reports would significantly improve patient care and outcomes.


      Creating accessible, readable, and automatic multimedia reports should be a high priority to enhance the practice and satisfaction of referring physicians, improve patient care, and emphasize the critical role radiology plays in current medical care.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Academic Radiology
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Naik S.S.
        • Hanbidge A.
        • Wilson S.R.
        Radiology reports: examining radiologist and clinician preferences regarding style and content.
        AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2001; 176: 591-598
        • Reiner B.
        • Siegel E.
        Radiology reporting: returning to our image-centric roots.
        AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2006; 187: 1151-1155
        • Reiner B.
        • Siegel E.
        • Protopapas Z.
        • et al.
        Impact of filmless radiology on the frequency of clinician consultations with radiologists.
        AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1999; 173: 1169-1172
        • Boland G.W.
        Visibility of radiologists: helping to secure your future.
        AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2009; 192: 1373-1374
        • Iyer V.R.
        • Hahn P.F.
        • Blaszkowsky L.S.
        • et al.
        Added value of selected images embedded into radiology reports to referring clinicians.
        J Am Coll Radiol. 2010; 7: 205-210
        • Gagliardi R.A.
        The evolution of the X-ray report.
        AJR. 1995; 164: 501-502
        • Gelfand D.W.
        • Schwarz D.L.
        • Ott D.J.
        The illustrated radiology report.
        AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1996; 167: 1099-1100
      1. Martino A. Sketching a new reality: what will the radiology report of the future look like? ACR Bulletin March 9, 2012. Available at:

        • Plumb A.A.
        • Grieve F.M.
        • Khan S.H.
        Survey of hospital clinicians' preferences regarding the format of radiology reports.
        Clin Radiol. 2009; 64: 386-394
        • Gunderman R.
        • Ambrosius W.T.
        • Cohen M.
        Radiology reporting in an academic children's hospital: what referring physicians think.
        Pediatr Radiol. 2000; 30: 307-314
        • Johnson A.J.
        • Ying J.
        • Swan J.S.
        • et al.
        Improving the quality of radiology reporting: a physician survey to define the target.
        J Am Coll Radiol. 2004; 1: 497-505
        • Clinger N.J.
        • Hunter T.B.
        • Hillman B.J.
        Radiology reporting: attitudes of referring physicians.
        Radiology. 1988; 169: 825-826
        • Channin D.S.
        • Mongkolwat P.
        • Kleper V.
        • et al.
        The caBIG™ Annotation and Image Markup Project.
        J Digit Imaging. 2010; 23: 217-225
        • Yang G.L.
        • Aziz A.
        • Narayanaswami B.
        • et al.
        Informatics in radiology (infoRAD): multimedia extension of medical imaging resource center teaching files.
        Radiographics. 2005; 25: 1699-1708
      2. Crane K, Branstetter B, Chang P. Zero-penalty authoring of multimedia radiology reports. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America; Chicago, IL 2005.