The annual meeting of the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine is one of the premier conferences on medical imaging, offering valuable industry insights on rising technologies and methodologies. Held in Long Beach, California, this year's gathering toted in-depth information on the efficacy of decision support systems for radiologists.
Diagnostic Imaging reported that experts at SIIM 2014 believe this medical software has its benefits, but is not the complete answer for improving overall performance. With the advent of technology, such as electronic health records, physicians have been experiencing an information overload of health care data. The volume and speed has changed drastically, but the way it is perceived has not. In order to handle the influx of data, decision support systems use algorithms to determine the appropriateness of ordering digital imaging procedures.
At the conference, proponents of this technology claimed that it's hard to determine how effective these systems are at eliminating the inappropriate use of imaging, and that it remains to be seen how the software affects patient safety outcomes. However, there are advantages to the proper implementation of decision support systems, as they can improve the workflow and reporting quality of medical imaging.
Due to the challenge of utilizing this technology, the experts recommended that radiologists develop a detailed plan for implementation, including determining the total costs of adopting the software and the tradeoffs of using it in tandem with ordering scans.
Finding the right criteria
In accordance with the parameters of this product, the American College of Radiology developed its own Appropriateness Criteria to help providers on decision-making challenges for imaging and treatments. The evidence-based guidelines from the ACR look to improve quality of care and bolster the efficacy of diagnostic radiology.
The agency created an initiative that facilitates the uses of the Criteria in decision support systems, making it easier for radiologists to determine the necessity of particular scans. This can help achieve the goal of reducing the amount of unnecessarily redundant exams, which can be costly for medical practices and patients alike. Additionally, it increases patient safety by eliminating overexposure to radiation dosages that are associated with procedures like CT and MRI.
The standards were developed in response to both technological advancements and the integration of clinical support systems in radiology departments at healthcare facilities. The ACR, together with the Radiology Business Management Association, established the guidelines based on the agencies' member consensus and reviews of practices used by CDS companies.
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