Often I visit customers to discuss and listen to their ideas, more recently the topic of discussion is the concept of structured reporting. It’s been extremely interesting listening to the many different views on the topic, and the difference in what people value most in the broad subject of structured reporting. I am also pleased to hear key themes in functionalities. It appears that healthcare professionals in various capacities are of a similar mind-set.
Ultimately what we are looking for is an easy to use application, providing automated clinical coding (SNOMED CT, RadLex, or others…), exchanging structured information with other systems, and an easy to use reporting tool telling us exactly how we have performed and giving us meaningful information on our data. From a product and technology point of view this is exactly what we are looking to deliver. The functionality and technology are there. The question is however, whether we are able to get end-users to adopt this way of working and are we skipping benefits when taking this leap on the technology timeline?
When discussing priorities with customers and asking the right questions, the general consensus is a very easy and straightforward:
- Referrers to know where to find information in a report, because the communication is standardised and always has the same build-up of text;
- Quality of reporting, because the reporting consultant has an implicit checklist in the system to mention all relevant information;
- Quality of care, because certain actions (critical findings) are automatically marked in text and are easier to follow-up by a referrer and not as easily missed.
The funny thing is that in contrast what referrers may expect as a priority list from consultants in general and radiologists in particular, the top priority for this group is the referrer. They all value the information they deliver to their customer, the referrer.
The benefits of exchanging information based on clinical coding with other IT systems using HL7 CDA or statistical analysis on larger data sets are the ultimate solution, and is within arm’s reach. However, we should focus on the short and mid-term goals first and foremost.
Earlier this year we were working on the first version of SpeechReport supporting structured reporting. Personally I love it. I like to see vague ideas becoming reality and actually being able to demonstrate what we have been discussing for so long already. All the passionate discussions between product managers and software engineers have resulted in a robust conceptual system, supporting different use cases and scenarios. It is great to see the enthusiasm in people’s reactions when showing our ideas and upcoming functionalities, and we are now closely following our pilot users and gaining their feedback to improve the user experience.
I’d like to invite everyone to give feedback (positive or negative) on this topic to help improve experiences, to discuss the acceptance of the technology within the field, and any other opinions you may have.
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