News | Business | September 23, 2015

ACR Supports Collaboration to Reduce Medical Diagnostic Errors

College backs Institute of Medicine report urging collaboration with physicians for clinical decision support

ACR, IOM report, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, collaboration, reduce medical diagnostic errors

September 23, 2015 — In the wake of a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on improving diagnostic capability in healthcare, the American College of Radiology (ACR) praised the document, of which it is a sponsor. The ACR commended IOM on its thorough analysis of the complex process of diagnosis and its recommendations for improvement, and voiced its support for collaborative, patient-centered approaches to reduce diagnostic errors.

“Further minimizing diagnostic errors must involve patients and providers working together and leveraging advancing technology to ensure safe, appropriate and accurate care,” said Bibb Allen, Jr., M.D., FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors. “It is also vital that patients understand their test results as well as the limitations of diagnostic exams,” added Allen.

This approach ties into the ACR’s Imaging 3.0 initiative, one aspect of which is to encourage radiologist interaction with referring providers regarding exam choice, performance, patient concerns and follow-up. The college supports the IOM recommendation for new healthcare delivery and payment systems that incentivize collaboration among physicians and other healthcare providers, including consultations with radiologists.

“If we truly want a collaborative approach to patient care, healthcare systems need to encourage these interactions without penalizing providers for examining errors when they do occur. We are pleased to see the IOM recognize this,” said Allen.   

The ACR also supports the IOM recommendation that health systems leverage informatics to support providers with the latest evidence-based practice through clinical decision support (CDS) systems embedded in the clinical workflow. For more than 20 years, the ACR has developed and continually updated ACR Appropriateness Criteria using an evidence-based literature review. ACR Select, the electronic version of ACR Appropriateness Criteria, is a solution that implements the IOM recommendation to integrate CDS into electronic health record systems. CDS for ordering imaging examinations will guide referring physicians, help their patients avoid unwarranted testing and ensure that patients get the right exam for their “health problem” as defined by the IOM.

“The ACR looks forward to working with all stakeholders cited by the IOM to reduce diagnostic errors in non-punitive, patient-centered ways that raise quality, encourage collaboration and protect access to care,” said Allen.

Other IOM report cosponsors include The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Cautious Patient Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and College of American Pathologists.

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