Best Practice in Standardized Ultrasound Reporting

Main Article Content

Valerie Doyon
Stephan Tuomi
Chris King


The past couple of decades have seen a considerable rise in the standardization of imaging reports. Standardized reports are superior to traditional prose reports in multiple measures, including accuracy, clarity, comprehensiveness, and effi ciency. Owing to clinical interactions between sonographers and radiologists, ultrasound has the potential to have tremendous benefi ts from standardized reporting. However, ultrasound examinations are reported to be notoriously challenging to standardize and receive low uptake. A narrative
literature review was conducted using articles published from 1980 through May 2021. PubMed and Google Scholar were searched with terms such as ultrasound, sonography, standardized, report, and their Medical Subject Heading terms. This review discusses the advantages and disadvantages of standardized reporting and summarizes the literature regarding structure, content, language, measurements, and guiding principles to be considered when creating standardized reports. With a special focus on its uses in sonography, the aim of this article is to act as a helpful guide for ultrasound program leaders in the implementation of standardized reporting at their institutions.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Valerie Doyon, UBC Faculty of Medicine

Year 3 Medical Student (MD 2023 Candidate)

Stephan Tuomi , Island Health Medical Imaging

Island Health Medical Imaging; Sonographer, Leader of Ultrasound and Breast Imaging

Chris King, University of British Columbia

UBC Faculty of Medicine Department of Radiology, Clinical Instructor



1. ESR Paper on Structured Reporting in Radiology. Insights into Imaging. Springer Verlag; 2018;9(1):1–7.
2. American College of Radiology. The ACR Practice Parameter for Communication of Diagnostic Imaging Findings. 2020; p. 1–8.
3. Morgan TA, Helibrun ME, Kahn CE. Reporting Initiative of the Radiological Society of North America: Progress and New Directions. Radiology. Radiological Society of North America Inc.; 2014;273(3):642–5.
4. Douglas PS, Hendel RC, Cummings JE, et al. ACCF/ACR/AHA/ASE/ASNC/HRS/NASCI/RSNA/SAIP/SCAI/SCCT/SCMR 2008 Health Policy Statement on Structured Reporting in Cardiovascular Imaging. Circulation. 2009;119(1):187–200.
5. Schwartz LH, Panicek DM, Berk AR, et al. Improving Communication of Diagnostic Radiology Findings through Structured Reporting. Radiology. 2011;260(1):174–81.
6. Rocha DM, Brasil LM, Lamas JM, et al. Evidence of the Benefits, Advantages and Potentialities of the Structured Radiological Report: An Integrative Review. Artif Intell Med. 2020;102:101770.
7. Nordin AB, Sales S, Nielsen JW, et al. Standardized Ultrasound Templates for Diagnosing Appendicitis Reduce Annual Imaging Costs. J Surg Res. 2018;221:77–83.
8. Tesser FN, Middleton WD, Grant EG. Thyroid Imaging Reporting and Data System (TI-RADS): A User’s Guide. Radiology. 2018;287(1):29–36.
9. Towbin AJ, Hawkins CM. Use of a Web-Based Calculator and a Structured Report Generator to Improve Efficiency, Accuracy, and Consistency of Radiology Reporting. J Digit Imaging. 2017;30(5):584–8.
10. Wildman-Tobriner B, Ngo L, Jaffe TA, et al. Automated Structured Reporting for Thyroid Ultrasound: Effect on Reporting Errors and Efficiency. J Am Coll Radiol. 2021;18:265–73.
11. Hangiandreou NJ, Stekel SF, Tradup DJ. Comprehensive Clinical Implementation of DICOM Structured Reporting Across a Radiology Ultrasound Practice: Lessons Learned. J Am Coll Radiol. 2017;14:298-300.
12. Reiner BI. The Challenges, Opportunities, and Imperative of Structured Reporting in Medical Imaging. J Digit Imaging. 2009;22(6):562–8.
13. Kim SH, Sobez LM, Spiro JE, et al. Structured Reporting has the Potential to Reduce Reporting Times of Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry Exams. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2020;21(1):1–10.
14. Larson DB. Strategies for Implementing a Standardized Structured Radiology Reporting Program. Radiographics. 2018;38(5):1705–16.
15. Hawkins CM, Hall S, Hardin J, et al. Prepopulated Radiology Report Templates: A Prospective Analysis of Error Rate and Turnaround Time. J Digit Imaging. 2012;25(4):504–11.
16. Yousem DM. In Opposition to Standardized Templated Reporting. Acad Radiol. 2019;26(7):981–2.
17. Tran L, Wadhwa A, Mann E. Implementation of Structured Radiology Reports. J Am Coll Radiol. 2016;13(3):296–9.
18. Goldberg-Stein S, Walter WR, Amis ES, et al. Implementing a Structured Reporting Initiative Using a Collaborative Multistep Approach. Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. 2017;46(4):295–9.
19. Pool FJ, Siemienowicz ML. New RANZCR Clinical Radiology Written Report Guidelines. J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2019;63(4):7–14.
20. Goergen SK, Pool FJ, Turner TJ, et al. Evidence-Based Guideline for the Written Radiology Report: Methods, Recommendations and Implementation challenges. J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2013;57(1):1–7.
21. Necas M. The Clinical Ultrasound Report: Guideline for Sonographers. Australas J Ultrasound Med. 2018;21(1):9–23.
22. Grieve FM, Plumb AA, Khan SH. Radiology Reporting: A General Practitioner’s Perspective. Br J Radiol. 2010;83:17–22.
23. Clinger NJ, Hunter TB, Hillman BJ. Radiology Reporting: Attitudes of Referring Physicians. Radiology. 1988;169(3):825–6.
24. Naik SS, Hanbidge A, Wilson SR. Radiology Reports: Examining Radiologist and Clinician Preferences Regarding Style and Content. Am J Roentgenol. 2001;176(3):591–8.
25. Plumb AAO, Grieve FM, Khan SH. Survey of Hospital Clinicians’ Preferences regarding the Format of Radiology Reports. Clin Radiol. 2009;64(4):386–94.
26. Coakley F V., Liberman L, Panicek DM. Style Guidelines for Radiology Reporting: A Manner of Speaking. Am J Roentgenol. 2003;180(2):327–8.
27. McLoughlin RF, So CB, Gray RR, et al. Radiology reports: How Much Descriptive Detail is Enough? Am J Roentgenol. 1995;165(2):803–6.
28. Hall FM. Language of the Radiology Report: Primer for Residents and Wayward Radiologists. Am J Roentgenol. 2000;175(5):1239–42.
29. Lourenco AP, Baird GL. Optimizing Radiology Reports for Patients and Referring Physicians: Mitigating the Curse of Knowledge. Academic Radiology. Elsevier USA; 2020;27(3):436–9.
30. Edwards H, Smith J, Weston M. What Makes a Good Ultrasound Report? Ultrasound. 2014;22(1):57–60.