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  • 10.27.14

    Physician Panel Highlights Impact of Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) on Patient Outcomes and Costs

    Washington, D.C. – A panel of physicians convened by the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (AMIC) today said that impending Medicare guidelines requiring physicians to consult with appropriate use criteria (AUC) and clinical decision support (CDS) tools when ordering diagnostic imaging services will improve patient outcomes and help manage health care costs.

    “By assisting physicians as they identify the most clinically appropriate and effective diagnostic options for patients with particular characteristics, evidence-based clinical decision support technologies, like The American College of Radiology’s (ACR) platform, are putting CMS’ policy utilizing Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) to reduce inappropriate image use into practice,” said Tim Trysla, executive director of AMIC. “As an alternative to additional reimbursement cuts or any prior authorization scheme that would only restrict access to critical advanced medical imaging services, Congress should continue to incentivize widespread adoption of AUC to improve physician decision making so that patients receive the right scan at the right time.”

    The panel, held today at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, explored the adoption of AUC and CDS solutions and discussed their impact on patient care and health care costs. Participants included Dr. Keith Dreyer, Vice Chairman, Radiology, Informatics, Massachusetts General Hospital; Dr. Michael Foster, Cardiologist, South Carolina Heart Center; Dr. Jeffrey Weilburg, Associate Medical Director, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, Massachusetts General Hospital; and Dr. Geraldine McGinty, Chair, Commission on Economics, American College of Radiology.

    “The ACR Select Decision Support Platform is a solution that simplifies the decision of what scan to order for a patient and when to order that scan,” said Dr. Dreyer. “It has the ability to sort through thousands of published clinical studies and speaks to the appropriateness of each for the present situation.”

    “Cardiac diagnostic workups are complex, as are the myriad of variables each patient’s diagnosis entails,” said Dr. Foster. “CDS solutions, such as ACC’s FOCUS, help map out a care plan to prescribing the most appropriate scans for non-uniform cases. It is critical that these CDS solutions be developed and incorporated into our Electronic Health Records in an efficient and effective manner.”

    “Our doctors have used clinical decision support for imaging since 2006.  We find it helps control imaging utilization, and improves the quality of the care we provide,” said Dr. Weilburg. “It has been well accepted by doctors and patients.”

    “Our research shows a steep cost-savings curve from the implementation to appropriation of AUC,” said Dr. McGinty. “The adoption of CDS solutions not only drives down costs, but improves care too.”


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