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J Digit Imaging. 2012 Feb;25(1):56-62. doi: 10.1007/s10278-011-9423-9.

Analysis of RadLex coverage and term co-occurrence in radiology reporting templates.

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Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA.


Radiologists are critically interested in promoting best practices in medical imaging, and to that end, they are actively developing tools that will optimize terminology and reporting practices in radiology. The RadLex® vocabulary, developed by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), is intended to create a unifying source for the terminology that is used to describe medical imaging. The RSNA Reporting Initiative has developed a library of reporting templates to integrate reusable knowledge, or meaning, into the clinical reporting process. This report presents the initial analysis of the intersection of these two major efforts. From 70 published radiology reporting templates, we extracted the names of 6,489 reporting elements. These terms were reviewed in conjunction with the RadLex vocabulary and classified as an exact match, a partial match, or unmatched. Of 2,509 unique terms, 1,017 terms (41%) matched exactly to RadLex terms, 660 (26%) were partial matches, and 832 reporting terms (33%) were unmatched to RadLex. There is significant overlap between the terms used in the structured reporting templates and RadLex. The unmatched terms were analyzed using the multidimensional scaling (MDS) visualization technique to reveal semantic relationships among them. The co-occurrence analysis with the MDS visualization technique provided a semantic overview of the investigated reporting terms and gave a metric to determine the strength of association among these terms.

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