Effect of Template Reporting of Brain MRIs for Multiple Sclerosis on Report Thoroughness and Neurologist-Rated Quality: Results of a Prospective Quality Improvement Project

Academic Article


  • Purpose To assess the impact of structured reporting templates on the objective and subjective quality of radiology reports for brain MRIs in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods A HIPAA-compliant prospective quality improvement initiative was undertaken to develop and implement a 12-item structured reporting template for brain MRI examinations in patients with known or suspected MS based on published guidelines. Reports created 1 year before implementing the template served as the baseline. A random sample of 10 template and 10 non-template reports was sent to five neurologists outside the study institution with MS expertise, who reviewed the reports for comprehensiveness and quality. The number of MS-relevant elements in template and non-template reports were compared with unpaired t tests. Proportions were compared with χ2 and Fisher exact tests. Results There were 63 reports in the pre-template period and 93 reports in the post-template period. Use of the template increased over time in the post-template period (P =.04). All 12 MS-relevant findings were addressed more often and with less variability in template reports: (11.1 ± 0.7 findings versus 5.8 ± 2.2 findings in non-template reports, P <.001). Neurologists were more likely to give the template reports the highest positive rating (56% [107/190] versus 28% [56/199], P <.001) and less likely to give the template reports a lower rating (7% [13/190] versus 15% [29/199], P =.01) compared with the non-template reports. Conclusion Template reporting of brain MRI examinations increases the rate at which MS-relevant findings are included in the report. Standardized reports are preferred by neurologists with MS expertise.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dickerson E; Davenport MS; Syed F; Stuve O; Cohen JA; Rinker JR; Goldman MD; Segal BM; Foerster BR
  • Start Page

  • 371
  • End Page

  • 379.e1
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 3