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Musculoskeletal Radiology Reports: Overlooked or Valuable?

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The electronic medical record (EMR) can reveal preferences of clinicians regarding imaging services. We sought to evaluate viewing habits for reports and images of musculoskeletal (MSK) studies by ordering clinicians. We hypothesized that MSK reports are important to clinical management, especially for advanced imaging modalities. We tracked the image and report access of all MSK studies ordered in September 2016 over 8 months using logs of the EMR (Epic Systems, Verona, WI), and by an independent analysis of the institutional PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication Systems) (Carestream Health, Rochester, NY). The time stamps were extracted for when images and reports were viewed. We categorized MSK studies by modality and provider department. We also compared the rates of viewing reports and images among different modalities and departments using the chi-square test. Of the 8143 viewed MSK studies, 7842 (96.3%) reports (with/without images) and 3916 (48.1%) imaging data (with/without reports) were viewed. Viewing reports alone occurred in 4227 (51.9%) studies. CT and MRI reports alone views occurred more often in comparison to radiographs ([482/706; 68.3%] for CT and [981/1713; 57.3%] for MRI vs. [2764/5724; 48.3%] for radiography, p < 0.001). Orthopedists ordered the highest number of MSK studies and viewed reports 99.2% (3216/3242) of the time, including a 54.6% (1770/3242) rate of viewing reports alone and a 44.6% (1446/3242) rate of viewing both reports and images. They viewed images without reports in 0.8% (27/3242) of cases. MSK reports were viewed significantly more frequently than the images across all modalities and all relevant specialties.

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Correspondence to Sadaf Sahraian.

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This study was performed with institutional review board approval and was HIPAA compliant.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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IRB Approval #00102719 was obtained for this study.

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Sahraian, S., Alvin, M.D., Haj-Mirzaian, A. et al. Musculoskeletal Radiology Reports: Overlooked or Valuable?. J Digit Imaging 33, 348–354 (2020).

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