The primary function of a clinical information system is to allow health care practitioners to report and retrieve clinical findings about their patients.  In most systems, these findings are stored in the patient record database as free text.   The problem with free text is that it lacks structure:  information is trapped in the language of the report, making it difficult to compare reports or find a specific detail without reading through the text.  For example, following the progress of a particular lesion across a series of reports requires the radiologist to scan through many lines of text.  By contrast, a structured reporting system would allow the information to be standardized and presented in a clear, organized format, tracking the attributes of each finding (size, location, etc), and prompting the radiologist for changes or impressions.  In addition to improving report readability, structured reporting can be more time-efficient than dictation, facilitate automated billing and order entry, and support analysis for research and decision-support.

Structured Reporting has been a research topic for many years, but only recently is it beginning to make its way into the marketplace as a viable technology.  This site is dedicated to providing an overview of structured reporting resources available over the net. 


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