The integration of radiology information systems, picture archiving and communication systems and ancillary reporting systems are making it easier to automatically map patient identifiers and examination findings into examination reports.

This capability brings multiple benefits to radiologists, according to a new study published in the journal Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology. Researchers surveyed 13 radiologists and nine radiology residents from the same facility about the effect of automatically populated reports; nearly all responded that report automation had a positive impact on saving time.

Of the users, 91 percent said report automation was a benefit to dictation accuracy, and 82 responded positively with the statement that the technology reduced fatigue.

The researchers found that the average error rate per report was 0.86, with an average of 0.26 errors remaining uncorrected upon report completion

The authors include Mark Kovacs, MD, at the University of South Carolina; Maximilian Cho, MD, at USC Physicians in California; Philip Burchette, a clinical research fellow at Medical University of South Carolina; and Michael Trambert, MD, at Santa Barbara Radiology Group in California.

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The research included a two-part study with the first part being an anonymous survey of radiologists’ views on report automation to assess the degree to which certain functions saved time, reduced fatigue and increased accuracy.

Next was a series of mock radiology examinations with radiologists timed and reporting errors monitored using automated infusion of information into exam reports.

Some 95 percent of participating radiologists said automation saved time; 91 percent reported improved accuracy of dictation; and 82 percent said report automation reduced fatigue.

The average time to dictate prepopulated fields was 51 seconds per study.

“Estimated average time per day saved per radiologist from report automation was 68 minutes,” according to the study. “Estimated average corrected errors were 48 per day. Estimated average uncorrected or missed errors were 21 per day. These estimated benefits from report automation result from tight integration of RIS, PACS and reporting systems.”

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