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Unlocking Radiology Reporting Data: an Implementation of Synoptic Radiology Reporting in Low-Dose CT Cancer Screening


Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) is the clinical advisor to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for the funding and delivery of cancer services. Data contained in radiology reports are inaccessible for analysis without significant manual cost and effort. Synoptic reporting includes highly structured reporting and discrete data capture, which could unlock these data for clinical and evaluative purposes. To assess the feasibility of implementing synoptic radiology reporting, a trial implementation was conducted at one hospital within CCO’s Lung Cancer Screening Pilot for People at High Risk. This project determined that it is feasible to capture synoptic data with some barriers. Radiologists require increased awareness when reporting cases with a large number of nodules due to lack of automation within the system. These challenges may be mitigated by implementation of some report automation. Domains such as pathology and public health reporting have addressed some of these challenges with standardized reports based on interoperable standards, and radiology could borrow techniques from these domains to assist in implementing synoptic reporting. Data extraction from the reports could also be significantly automated to improve the process and reduce the workload in collecting the data. RadLex codes aided the difficult data extraction process, by helping label potential ambiguity with common terms and machine-readable identifiers.

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We would like to acknowledge, the Emerging Programs Team at CCO, the Lakeridge Health Team, and the Cancer Imaging Program at CCO.

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Correspondence to Alexander K. Goel.

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Appendix. LDCT lung cancer screening form version 1.3

Appendix. LDCT lung cancer screening form version 1.3

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Goel, A.K., DiLella, D., Dotsikas, G. et al. Unlocking Radiology Reporting Data: an Implementation of Synoptic Radiology Reporting in Low-Dose CT Cancer Screening. J Digit Imaging 32, 1044–1051 (2019).

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  • Synoptic Reporting
  • Structured Reporting
  • Structured Data capture
  • RadLex