Radiology reports are predominantly text-based since radiologists have started practicing. When developing radiology reports, the measurements of target lesions are often lacking. These measurements are critical for oncology trials in order to evaluate how tumors are reacting to therapy. However, there might be some hope in the form of multimedia reports. A recent study from the U.S. National Institutes of Health found that multimedia reports were significantly more effective in tracking lesions than text-only radiology reports.
Researchers Laura Machado, MD, and Les Folio, MD, evaluated 489 target lesions in 232 CT examinations of 71 patients with metastatic genitourinary cancer enlisted in two therapeutic trials. They assessed target lesion selection and “measurement concordance between oncology records (used to calculate therapeutic response)” and two different types of radiology Picture Arching and Communication System (PACS) reports — multimedia radiology reports and text-only reports.
In the end, they found that PACS reports enhanced with hyperlinks, tables, and graphs that allowed physicians to view annotated measurements of the lesions in the CT slices and series. In fact, multimedia radiology reports were 78 percent in concordance on target lesion selection compared with the 52 percent concordance of text-only radiology reports.
"Thus, multimedia-enhanced radiology reports provide more information for oncologists than text-only radiology reports," concluded the NIH researchers.