Review Article. Measurement of radiologist reporting times: Assessment of precision, comparison of three different measurement techniques and review of potential applicationsIan A Cowan, Richard A Floyd
- Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and imaging
Radiologist reporting times are a key component of radiology department workload assessment, but reliable measurement remains challenging. Currently, there are three contenders for this task: median reporting times (MRTs), extracted directly from a department's radiology information system (RIS); study‐ascribed times (SATs), using published tables of individual descriptors derived from a combination of measurement and consensus; and radiology reporting figures (RRFs), using published tables of measured times based on modality and numbers of anatomical areas.
We review these techniques, their possible uses and some potential pitfalls. We discuss the level of precision that can realistically be attained in measuring reporting times, and list the strengths and weaknesses of each technique, comparing them in relation to each of eight potential applications.
We believe that SATs are challenging for practical use due to their static nature, absent common descriptors and large number. RRFs are more user‐friendly but are also static and require ongoing updates; currently, they do not include ultrasound. MRTs cannot currently be extracted from every RIS, but where available they are easy to use and their dynamic nature provides the most objective data. They underestimate the unmeasurable components of a radiologist's work and therefore the total time spent in a reporting session.
MRTs are superior to the other methods in flexibility, precision and ease of use. All institutions should have access to this data and we call on vendors of Radiology Information Systems which are currently not capable of providing it to make the necessary modifications.