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J Thorac Imaging. 2020 Jan 6. doi: 10.1097/RTI.0000000000000469. [Epub ahead of print]

Patient-centered Radiology Reporting for Lung Cancer Screening.

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University of Virginia Medical School, Charlottesville, VA.
Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Burlington, MA.


Medicine is slowly transitioning toward a more patient-centered approach, with patients taking a more central role in their own care. A key part of this movement has involved giving patients increased access to their medical record and imaging results via electronic health portals. However, most patients lack the knowledge to fully understand medical documents, which are generally written above their comprehension level. Radiology reports, in particular, utilize complex terminology due to radiologists' historic function as consultants to other physicians, with little direct communication to patients. As a result, typical radiology reports lack standardized formatting, and they are often inscrutable to patients. Numerous studies examining patient preference also point to a trend for more accessible radiology reports geared toward patients. Reports designed with an infographic format, combining simple pictures and standardized text, may be an ideal format that radiologists can pursue to provide patient-centered care. Our team, through feedback from patient advisory groups, developed a patient-friendly low-dose computed tomography lung cancer screening report with an infographic format that is both visually attractive and comprehensible to the average patient. The report is designed with sections including a description of low-dose computed tomography, a section on individualized patient results, the meaning of the results, and a list of the next steps in their care. We believe that this form of the report has the potential to serve as a bridge between radiologists and patients, allowing for a better patient understanding of their health and empowering patients to participate in their health and health care.

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