Imaging informatics for consumer health: towards a radiology patient portal

Arnold, Corey W.; McNamara, Mary; El-Saden, Suzie; Chen, Shawn; Taira, Ricky K.; Bui, Alex A. T.
November 2013
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association;Nov2013, Vol. 20 Issue 6, p1028
Academic Journal
Objective With the increased routine use of advanced imaging in clinical diagnosis and treatment, it has become imperative to provide patients with a means to view and understand their imaging studies. We illustrate the feasibility of a patient portal that automatically structures and integrates radiology reports with corresponding imaging studies according to several information orientations tailored for the layperson. Methods The imaging patient portal is composed of an image processing module for the creation of a timeline that illustrates the progression of disease, a natural language processing module to extract salient concepts from radiology reports (73% accuracy, F1 score of 0.67), and an interactive user interface navigable by an imaging findings list. The portal was developed as a Java-based web application and is demonstrated for patients with brain cancer. Results and discussion The system was exhibited at an international radiology conference to solicit feedback from a diverse group of healthcare professionals. There was wide support for educating patients about their imaging studies, and an appreciation for the informatics tools used to simplify images and reports for consumer interpretation. Primary concerns included the possibility of patients misunderstanding their results, as well as worries regarding accidental improper disclosure of medical information. Conclusions Radiologic imaging composes a significant amount of the evidence used to make diagnostic and treatment decisions, yet there are few tools for explaining this information to patients. The proposed radiology patient portal provides a framework for organizing radiologic results into several information orientations to support patient education.


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