November 11, 2013 — National Imaging Associates (NIA), a subsidiary of Magellan Health Services, announced a clinical decision support application designed to provide emergency department physicians with objective, educational guidance related to advanced imaging. NIA offers the Emergency Department Clinical Decision Support tool (ED CDS) at the same time that nationwide statistics are showing the use of advanced imaging in the emergency department has more than doubled in recent years.
“This is an important issue that impacts hospitals, health plans and consumers alike,” said Tina Blasi, CEO, NIA. “Of course there are many cases where these tests are necessary and valuable, but we’ve found that many times, imaging tests are being overutilized simply because the technology is there. Not only does this inflate costs for payers, but increased radiation exposure can adversely impact patients over their lifetime. This tool leverages evidence-based protocols to offer emergency departments objective, educational guidance in real time.”
The medical community has become increasingly focused on the judicious use of ionizing radiation, but physicians do not always have the necessary tools to determine when imaging studies are necessary. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recently developed five Choosing Wisely recommendations, the first of which advises avoidance of computed tomography (CT) scans of the head in low risk emergency department patients with minor head injuries.
Recent research from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that emergency physicians in the area believe that the overutilization of CT scans is of concern and would be interested in decision support tools to help them determine if imaging is necessary.
"Emergency departments account for roughly half of all hospital admissions and 25 percent of all CT scans in the country,” said Richard Griffey, M.D., associate chief of emergency medicine, Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes-Jewish Hospital and author of the study. “Our study found that emergency physicians are attuned to the issue of overutilization of CT scans and are interested in having computerized support that helps optimize imaging decision making, provides alternative imaging strategies and helps emergency physicians explain the risks, as well as benefits, of imaging to their patients.”
With NIA’s ED CDS tool, physicians can enter information online in response to a short series of questions and receive immediate feedback on the clinical appropriateness of imaging, based on nationally recognized, evidence-based standards. The tool presents alternatives when available and generates an appropriateness score that measures imaging activity against best practices and other metrics. Robust reporting features monitor physician practice-patterns and measure facility performance to verify adherence to clinical protocols.
For more information: www.magellanhealth.com