May 2, 2014 — The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) exhibited at the American College of Physicians’ (ACP) Internal Medicine 2014 meeting in early April as part of the society’s efforts to spread the word about the appropriate use of cardiac imaging tests. ASE recently launched a free mobile phone Echo AUC app, designed to guide physicians when ordering testing in cardiovascular care and echocardiography, and demonstrated the app on iPads on the exhibit floor.
The app was made possible by a grant from the ABIM Foundation and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and was designed by physicians to assist other healthcare practitioners to follow appropriate care guidelines, as part of the Choosing Wisely initiative. ASE has been involved for the past two years with Choosing Wisely, sponsored by the ABIM Foundation in partnership with Consumer Reports, which aims to promote conversations between physicians and patients and reduce unnecessary tests and procedures.
Echocardiography is the most widely used evaluation and diagnostic tool for heart and circulation problems, employed to diagnose patients of all ages, from the infant in the womb to the frail, elderly patient. While most specialists who perform and interpret echo studies are very knowledgeable about Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC), the clinicians who actually order these tests are typically not cardiovascular specialists, and may lack access to this important information. In this changing healthcare environment, where increasing emphasis is placed on the value of tests and procedures, all physicians will increasingly need interactive and user-friendly tools to help them decide which tests may be appropriate for their patients.
As one of the nation’s largest gatherings of practicing physicians, including general internists, hospitalists, and critical care physicians, the ACP Internal Medicine 2014 meeting offers an excellent opportunity to reach non-cardiology medical professionals who can most benefit from decision-support tools such as the ECHO AUC app. With this smartphone assistance, physicians are empowered to counter inappropriate echo ordering, and can effectively counsel and reassure their patients with easily understood language about the reasons an echo may not be scientifically necessary.
The ECHO AUC app also includes quick access to the "Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question" lists developed by ASE and more than 25 participating specialty societies as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign. These lists are evidence-based recommendations that can be utilized to help make wise decisions about the most appropriate care based on a patient's individual situation. Along with the app, the society displayed educational materials for training physicians on focused cardiac ultrasound use during the meeting.
For more information: visitwww.asecho.org