RadiologyInfo.org: An Invaluable Resource to Share with Your Patients
More than 260 procedures, exam and disease descriptions can ease patient’s anxiety before imaging
Recent changes brought on by the 21st Century Cures Act increase patient access to medical data. Under the new law that took effect in April 2021, patients have immediate access to imaging test reports through their health information portals and may learn the results before the ordering doctor has read them. Without proper context and evaluation, the results may cause undue anxiety and may increase the number of calls patients make to the ordering provider—and sometimes the interpreting radiologist—seeking clarity.
RadiologyInfo.org can help answer patient questions and ease concerns. Designed as a ready resource for patients, the site delivers easy-to-understand information about more than 260 imaging procedures, exams and disease topics. Co-produced by RSNA and the American College of Radiology (ACR), the site was created to assist patients in making more informed health care decisions.
“The site is designed for patients, but the content is created by radiologists,” said Jay Pahade, MD, an abdominal radiologist with Yale Radiology in New Haven, CT, where he also serves as vice chair of quality and safety. “RadiologyInfo.org provides patients, families and health care providers with valuable information about the role of medical imaging, image-guided therapy and radiation therapy in health care.”
Dr. Pahade is co-chair of the joint RSNA-ACR Public Information Website Committee comprised of 17 multi-institutional radiology professionals responsible for overseeing site content development and website review. Approximately 75 medical advisors assist each year with writing and content review.
Dr. Pahade has contributed material including several video segments explaining imaging procedures. The website receives more than 1.8 million views per month.
“The committee’s approach allows us to create accurate, targeted information for our patients on a large spectrum of radiology exams, procedures and common medical conditions,” Dr. Pahade said.
He and his team at Yale New Haven Health have also worked on customizing their EHR portal to provide a link to RadiologyInfo.org’s “How to Read Your Radiology Report” page above all their radiology reports, which has proven helpful to their patient population.
“The link is clicked 5,000 to 8,000 times a month, which shows that patients are very interested in developing some understanding of their radiology reports,” he said. Committee co-chair, Andrew Gunn, MD, director of interventional oncology in the Department of Radiology at Heersink School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, noted that many radiology groups are trying to develop similar resources for their patients internally, but with considerable expense and time. “RadiologyInfo.org allows radiologists to direct patients to already created high-quality material that is written for patients,” he said.
Among the site’s most popular articles are those related to commonly performed procedures like abdominal and cardiac CT, head CT and CT angiography. In addition to accessing the “How to Read Your Radiology Report” page, visitors also frequently view articles on safety as well as the site’s “Contrast Material” article. Video content is also widely accessed. All RadiologyInfo.org content is available in Spanish with 30 videos also translated into Spanish.
“More informed patients tend to be more engaged with their care and better prepared. Better prepared patients also tend to be less anxious before their radiology exams.”
ANDREW GUNN, MD
Custom Content Available for Children, Caregivers
In 2018, the RSNA-ACR Public Information Website Committee and the Patient Advocate Advisory Network identified an opportunity to add pediatric content to RadiologyInfo.org. The result is a growing pediatric-focused section of disease, testing and safety information on the site as well as iconography indicating imaging and test content throughout the site with special pediatric considerations.
RadInfo 4 Kids, part of the site’s pediatric care section, is written for pediatric patients and includes videos and stories created especially for this patient demographic.
“Children are such a unique group, particularly because below a certain age they are unable to read themselves. This is why resources with videos and pictures are important,” said contributor Sherry Wang, MBBS, senior associate consultant in the Department of Radiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Dr. Wang is also a RadiologyInfo.org committee member. Dr. Wang created a children’s book and video series featuring Teddy, a stuffed bear who undergoes various imaging procedures. The videos are available in English and Mandarin and include subtitles.
“The captioned words are a bonus, as they require an adult to read to the child. Thus, effectively both the pediatric patient and their adult family members/ guardians are all educated on radiological exams,” Dr. Wang said. “The adults can also learn what is next to come in the exam process and answer the child’s questions, or have questions at hand to ask the performing radiology technologist or physician radiologist.”
The benefits of RadiologyInfo.org’s verified content are significant as patients of all ages navigate new levels of information access for their personal health. “More informed patients tend to be more engaged with their care and better prepared. Better prepared patients also tend to be less anxious before their radiology exams,” Dr. Gunn said.
Updates Planned for 2023
RadiologyInfo.org has undergone regular review and improvement since its inception. Recent updates have included ongoing language simplification to improve readability, the addition of English and Spanish captioning to the most viewed videos on the site and continued updates to the site glossary to provide definitions for terminology that cannot be simplified.
“Our primary goals for 2023 are to expand the content on imaging tests, including procedures typically done by interventional radiologists and radiation oncologists,” Dr. Pahade said. “In addition, we are partnering with the ACR team that creates patient summaries for radiology tests, including video explanations, to further increase the reach of their work by hosting it on RadiologyInfo.org.”
Dr. Gunn said that the committee also plans to explore creating new content to help patients better understand radiology reports for commonly performed exams.
For More Information
Learn more at RadiologyInfo.org.
Members are encouraged to ask the families of their pediatric patients if they would like to participate in RadInfo 4 Kids. Visit the RadInfo 4 Kids website to learn more about the process to participate or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow RadiologyInfo.org on Instagram @radinfo4patients.
Content Reviewers Needed for RadiologyInfo.org
RadiologyInfo.org, is seeking volunteers to assist with content review. Participating physicians help maintain and evaluate site content to ensure the public has access to the most up-to-date and accurate radiologic information. These physicians are then recognized on the RadiologyInfo.org Medical Advisors page.
Are you interested in learning more about this opportunity and contributing your expertise to patient-friendly content as a RadiologyInfo.org reviewer? Send your curriculum vitae to Matthew Chwedyk at email@example.com, noting your area of expertise and interest.