CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Indian J Radiol Imaging 2020; 30(01): 7-12
DOI: 10.4103/ijri.IJRI_308_19

Impact of a standardized reporting format on the quality of MRI reports for rectal cancer staging

Neeti A Gupta
Departments of Radio Diagnosis, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Shivani Mahajan
Departments of Radio Diagnosis, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
A Sumankumar
Departments of Radio Diagnosis, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Avanish Saklani
Departments of Colo-rectal Surgery, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Reena Engineer
Departments of Radiation Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Akshay D Baheti
Departments of Radio Diagnosis, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
› Author Affiliations
Financial support and sponsorship Nil.


Background and Aims: Besides providing a surgical roadmap, rectal MRI plays a major role in treatment planning. We recently started using a structured template for reporting rectal cancer via MRI. We study the impact of using this template at our hospital in terms of number of essential imaging parameters described in the reports as compared to the pre-template free-text reports. Methods: A structured rectal MRI reporting template was created in consensus with members of the colorectal tumour board and was introduced in the department, which included 14 essential parameters to be mentioned in the reports. We conducted a retrospective analysis of rectal MRI reports of 100 cases with histologically proven rectal cancer, comprising 50 consecutive free-text reports before the template was introduced and 50 consecutive structured reports after its introduction, checking for the presence or absence of inclusion of the 14 parameters. An anonymous online feedback survey was conducted as well after the introduction of the template for the members of the colorectal tumour board. Results: Overall, the total number of parameters reported increased from a median value of 10 (range 6-13) to 14 (range 12-14). The common unreported parameters prior to template introduction included T staging, presence or absence of restricted diffusion, anterior peritoneal reflection (APR) involvement, and presence or absence of extramural vascular invasion; these were reported in 16%, 22%, 30% and 50% respectively. These improved to 98-100% reporting after template introduction. Maximum improvement was in T staging (16% to 98%) (P < 0.0001), restricted diffusion on DWI (from 22% to 100%) (P < 0.0001) and APR involvement (from 30% to 100%) (P < 0.0001). The most common unreported parameter after template introduction was the “tumoral T2 signal intensity” (unreported in 4% cases). The results of the survey were as follows: 100% felt a decreased need to talk to the radiologist to clarify the report, 81.8% felt an improvement in the quality of reporting as compared to free style reports, and 91% felt that the new template is easier to interpret. Conclusion: The introduction of a structured template for rectal cancer significantly improved the quality of rectal MRI reports, along with the satisfaction of referring providers.

Publication History

Received: 15 July 2019

Accepted: 09 January 2020

Publication Date:
19 July 2021 (online)

© 2020. Indian Radiological Association. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial-License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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