The tipping point

The 2020 Clinical Radiology UK Workforce Census from the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) documented a 33% shortfall in reporting staff in 2020. By 2025 this shortfall is projected to grow to 44% (the equivalent of 3,613 reporting staff). For patients affected by this shortfall, all will experience extended waiting times, delays in diagnosis and treatment – all impacting patient outcomes and safety. “Almost half (45%) of trusts and health boards left images auto-reported* or unreported. This is concerning due to the potential for diagnoses to be missed or delayed. (*Auto-reporting is a standard response sent automatically to referrers, informing them that the imaging examination will not receive a formal radiology report and that it is their responsibility to provide one).” 

In an attempt to address this growing deficit in human resource, census data shows:

  • 92% trusts have opted to insource (meaning department CR consultants undertaking additional paid reporting outside their contracted hours.)
  • 91% trusts have opted to outsource (The use of teleradiology services normally manned by part-time radiologists)
  • 61% trusts have opted to utilize ad-hoc locums

The RCR estimated the expenditure for these three services to be £206 million in 2020, up from £88 million in 2015. The impact of the continued human resource crisis has affected our ability to provide timely, quality and cost-effective radiology reports; bringing us to a tipping point.

Any delay in reporting can negatively impact patient experience and health outcomes*. (*Diagnostics: Recovery and Renewal, RCR Oct 2020) New solutions must be pursued to help alleviate the pressure and improve the quality of care we provide.

Nicholas Carter, UK sales director for RadioReport, comments: “We understand the role dictation and free text has played in Radiology reporting for the last few decades, but reporting now needs to modernise and add further value to healthcare.”

Prof Dr Alexander Huppertz, board-certified diagnostic radiologist and RadioReport founder continues: “Whilst none of us alone can resolve the human resource deficit, I have identified two strategies to help alleviate this crisis. First, we need to move beyond the past interprofessional dissatisfaction and embrace radiographer reporting in future workforce design to create sustainable multidisciplinary reporting teams. Second, modern reporting tools that foster more efficient collaboration whilst increasing reporting capacity, consistency and quality need to be adopted.

“As a radiologist, I envisioned and developed RadioReport to improve the  quality and consistency of reporting in radiology, enabling radiographers and radiologists to truly collaborate. I believe this software finally brings reporting up to the standard that highly accurate MRI and CT images provide today. RadioReport is the solution for radiology reporting in a modern connected world, creating new dimensions of value in the reports we create.

“With speech recognition, reporting staff face a blank canvas. Conversely, with RadioReport, the first guided reporting software, users are efficiently guided through the reporting process, step-by-step, providing them with up-to-date nomenclature for all anatomies and pathologies, supported with standard classifications describing trauma, disease progression and pathology for all CT and MRI examinations. Drop-down menus ensure that all relevant options are available at a glance. Inbuilt plausibility checks ensure that reports are omission-free. Collaboration is supported through easy-to-use review and correction tools by designated colleagues.

“For the first time, there is a real opportunity for the broader development of multidisciplinary reporting teams who can truly collaborate and contribute to improved patient outcomes via an expedient reporting process.”

As accurately highlighted by Wood (2021), radiology reporting is a team effort: “Multidisciplinary team-working, utilising the skills of all imaging team members, is essential to the success and sustainability of the imaging workforce moving forwards.” Book your personalized demonstration with Nick – we will be happy to show you the advances that can be made.

This news story has been sponsored by the companies concerned and does not represent the views or opinions of RAD Magazine.

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