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From OncoLog, November-December 2012, Vol. 57, Nos. 11-12

New Software May Provide a Standardized Reporting System for Diagnostic Radiologists 

By Luanne Jorewicz

Graphic: ViSion software system
A software system developed by an MD Anderson physician presents radiology reports as a graphical representation of a patient with the key images linked to anatomical sites.

Radiologists today still report the results of patient imaging examinations in a manner similar to that which has been used for more than 100 years—by providing narrative descriptions that vary in content and clarity.

In response to this problem, David J. Vining, M.D., a professor in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and the medical director of the Image Processing and Visualization Laboratory at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has developed a software system, called ViSion, which allows radiologists to create easy-to-use multimedia structured reports.

“We’re an image-centric field,” Dr. Vining said, “and we need to use images to our advantage.” He said ViSion works in a manner similar to Facebook—just as Facebook allows users to tag images with the names of people and events, ViSion enables radiologists to tag key radiology images with anatomy and pathology terms as well as the narrative descriptions dictated by the radiologists. The software then assembles these data into a graphical representation of a patient with the key images linked to anatomical sites.

In addition, according to Dr. Vining, “ViSion’s unique graphical display allows a patient’s entire radiographic history to be viewed in a single image.” The software provides a means to link imaging findings to prior exams in order to generate disease timelines for each site of disease. This allows physicians to watch the progression of disease through changing images while listening to the radiologist’s assessment of each finding. The software also automates the use of Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors by enabling physicians to generate graphs showing tumor progression or response to therapy.

ViSion’s ability to capture and efficiently manage radiologic information and its use of standardized medical terminology could help physicians reduce errors and make more accurate diagnoses and treatment decisions. Dr. Vining’s software development team has included a feature that enables automatic notification of critical results with return receipt verification, providing a means for radiologists to effectively communicate important results to referring physicians and to track the results of those interactions. Dr. Vining’s team has translated ViSion’s standardized medical terminology into several languages, including Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, and French, thus enabling the automatic translation of radiology reports.

ViSion interfaces with any image display workstation or picture archiving and communication system that uses a Microsoft operating system, thus making it widely accessible.

Clinical trials are ongoing, and ViSion is scheduled to become commercially available in 2013. Continued development involves expanding the software’s medical lexicon so that ViSion can be applied to other image-based fields (e.g., pathology, endoscopy, dermatology) and creating applications such as data mining and automatic coding for billing purposes.

Dr. Vining’s team is also working on advances such as integrating an eye-tracking system that would monitor the eye movements of radiologists to capture screen locations as they report imaging findings, thus eliminating the need for manual interaction with a computer mouse and keyboard. With features like these, Dr. Vining believes that ViSion can fill the need for standardized radiology structured reporting.

For more information, call Dr. David Vining at 713-792-3437.

Disclosure: Dr. Vining is the founder of VisionSR Inc., a startup company that will pursue the commercialization of the ViSion software.

Other articles in OncoLog, November-December 2012 issue:

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