Laterality errors in radiology reports generated with and without voice recognition software: Frequency and clinical significance

Marianne T. Luetmer, Christopher H. Hunt, Robert McDonald, Brian Jack Bartholmai, David F Kallmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the incidence, types, and clinical implications of laterality errors and the effect of voice recognition software on the frequency of laterality errors. Methods: All radiology reports generated between January 2007 and April 2011 were retrospectively evaluated to identify revised reports containing laterality errors. Type of error was catalogued with regard to modality, body part, type of discrepancy (major or minor, with discrepancies considered major if the potential existed to affect patient management), duration of time between report finalization and corrected report, clinical significance, and use of voice recognition. The rate of errors causing major and minor discrepancies between voice recognition-generated reports and nonvoice recognition-generated reports was compared. Results: Among 2,923,094 reports, 1,607 (0.055%) contained corrected laterality errors, and 56 (0.0019% of the total report volume) were major. A total of 584,878 (20%) were generated using voice recognition. The rate of laterality errors leading to major discrepancies in voice recognition-generated reports was 0.00188%, compared with 0.00192% in nonvoice recognition-generated reports (P =.9436). None of the errors led to wrong-sided surgery. However, there were potential adverse effects due to laterality errors in 3 patients with major discrepancies (0.000103% of the total report volume). Conclusions: Rates of laterality errors were low and, in our population, did not result in wrong-sided surgeries. Rates of laterality errors in reports with major discrepancies were unaffected by voice recognition software, but voice recognition was associated with a significant reduction in the duration of time between report finalization and the issuing of a corrected report.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-543
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2013


  • Laterality errors
  • quality
  • voice recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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