December 15, 2011 – As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure safe, effective and appropriate medical imaging, the American College of Radiology (ACR) has joined the ABIM Foundation and eight other medical specialty societies in Choosing Wisely. The new campaign promotes wise choices by physicians and patients to improve health outcomes, avoid unnecessary interventions and make efficient use of healthcare dollars.
The ACR will develop a list of five things to reduce unnecessary imaging exams ordered by physicians and improve quality of care. The list names imaging exams whose necessity should be discussed before being ordered. The list also equips providers with steps to help ensure safe, appropriate use of scans.
“Medical imaging exams are a perfect fit for Choosing Wisely. Scans lower healthcare costs by replacing more invasive surgeries and allowing for shorter hospital stays. Although imaging use is down significantly since 2008 and Medicare spending on imaging is the same as in 2004, opportunities remain to ensure appropriate ordering of scans. As greater access to imaging is directly tied to increased life expectancy, ACR will identify areas where care can be improved without restricting patient access,” said John A. Patti, M.D., FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors.
The ACR is dedicated to putting quality and safety first. ACR Appropriateness Criteria help doctors prescribe the best imaging exam for a patient’s condition and reduce unnecessary scans by informing doctors when no scan is necessary at all. For decades, ACR facility accreditation programs have set stringent physician, equipment and personnel standards and remain the gold standard in quality assurance.
The College is a founding member of the Image Wisely (imagewisely.org) and Image Gently (imagegently.org) initiatives and established the national Dose Index Registry. All of these efforts help lower radiation dose from imaging exams. The ACR also co-founded radiologyinfo.org to provide patients with accessible information on imaging scans and radiation therapy.
“The ACR urges all imaging providers to take advantage of ACR accreditation, Appropriateness Criteria and the Dose Index Registry to raise quality and safety and ensure appropriate care. By basing policies on current evidence and use of existing quality and safety tools, we can make efficient use of healthcare dollars and keep imaging safe, effective and accessible to those who need it,” said Patti.
The ACR list, and those of other Choosing Wisely partners, will be released in April 2012.
For more information: ChoosingWisely.org.