Read about how Dr. David J. Vining, a prominent MD Anderson Cancer Center Radiologist, has developed a new web-based solution to make medical test results standardized and accessible for both physicians and patients alike.
MD Anderson Cancer Center Radiologist Dr. David J. Vining has developed ViSion Structured Reporting, a new web solution for streamlining patients’ medical imaging and test results in what the doctor is calling the “Facebook for medicine.”
In an exclusive interview with BioNews Texas, Dr. Vining explains that, in the world of medical reports and testing, few realize how the lack of standardized, consistent reporting on key findings and data is critical in effectively conducting health assessments and treatment. Particularly in the realm of Radiology, the critical analysis that accompanies new imaging results still uses the same imprecise “narrative” reporting style that has been in practice since Dr. Wilhelm Röntgen first invented x-rays in 1895.
In spite of the medical industry’s best efforts to put standard taxonomies and reporting best practices into place, reporting guidelines have not been widely adopted. For example, published studies have shown that when reporting chest x-ray findings, radiologists used 14 terms for describing interstitial edema/infiltrate, 23 terms for expressing the presence of an abnormality, and, ironically, 30 different terms for expressing “uncertainty.”
Dr. Vining’s innovative ViSion Structured Reporting solution seeks to shift reporting from an often imprecise and inconsistent qualitative approach to a quantitative one, leveraging a robust database with an extremely user-friendly interface that will allow doctors to quickly and accurately pull up and compare test results and imaging.
The ViSion Solution
Dr. Vining explains that the idea behind ViSion is similar to the game of Operation, wherein a pictorial view of the human anatomy — called the “Homunculus Navigation” screen (pictured above) — serves as the starting point for a user interface that puts imaging files, audio notes, and concise, standardized data at doctors’ fingertips. Every new image uploaded to a patient’s health profile is tagged with highly granular metadata that aligns measurements, observations, diagnoses, and dates into a wealth of easy-to-read reports. Because all of this information is stored in ViSion’s database, the solution provides doctors with the ability to not only access comprehensive findings and test results, but also can easily view and contribute to “disease timelines,” which helps sharpen treatment decisions and further predict prognoses.
In addition, ViSion’s groundbreaking integrated ontology authoring tool takes all of the collected data for a patient from the system’s database and presents it to the user in an incredibly succinct manner, highlighting anatomy, pathology, written and audio notes, and a thumbnail image of any accompanying imaging along with a priority setting, which orders health issues in a kind of “imaging triage.” Not only does this allow physicians to note past timelines and histories of pathologies, but also creates priorities and an “audit trail” who did what in a patient’s testing and treatment.
There have been attempts in the past to centralize medical data and results in the manner that ViSion does. However, the data integration and middleware needed to interface new solutions with hospital and research facilities’ own systems — which are often old, outdated “legacy” systems — were too expensive and complex to make mainstream adoption of the technology feasible. With ViSion, however, users can simply upload files via the system’s web-based solution — not dissimilar from uploading photos onto Facebook — and the straightforward metadata tagging is as easy for a medical professional to wield as any popular social networking site in operation today.
For as much as the user interface makes ViSion the first of its kind to combine social media-like sharing of medical data, the secret to the system’s success is its database, and how medical taxonomies are ontologically organized in order to make reporting on medical findings standardized once and for all.
In a dramatic departure from the “qualitative” and inconsistent manner in which radiologists often analyze images and reports, ViSion utilizes a controlled vocabulary with highly granular relationships. In this way, terminologies are easily accessible and logically linked so that data can be further processed and organized.
In this gallery below, you can see how the ontology flows logically from common anatomy to pathology:
The Future of ViSion
Dr. Vining is now in the process of launching the ViSion platform, and is in search of an organization willing to pilot the use of ViSion in order to beta test the solution and demonstrate its viability in the research and medical community. In particular, he hopes to attract increased attention from his colleagues at MD Anderson, since the institution’s high-profile as the leading cancer center in America, as well as its large, talented staff and wide-ranging departments, would afford Dr. Vining the opportunity to really put ViSion through its rigors and show what it can do.
As Dr. Vining’s ViSion continues to develop in the biotech and life sciences sphere, BioNews Texas will be sure to keep track of this ingenious, new technology.
Are you affiliated with the MD Anderson Cancer center, or would you like to see MD Anderson pilot the use of ViSion? Be sure to leave a comment below!