A Tool to Meet the Needs of Radiology’s Future

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This post was contributed by Richard L. Morin, PhD, FACR, chair of NRDR.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) National Radiology Data Registry (NRDR®) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. We’re proud to have helped tens of thousands of ACR members and their practices improve care over the past decade—and we’re not letting up.

This is a particularly interesting time in radiology. Significant change is coming over the next decade with respect to how we use quality measures to improve not only patient care and safety, but also reimbursement, accreditation and other aspects of our work.

NRDR is poised to be a go-to tool for radiologists to satisfy the needs of the future. Numerous efforts are underway to optimize NRDR data collection methods, ease reporting and improve interoperability and integration with electronic medical records, radiology information systems and modality vendors.

We are making participation even easier by automating each of the registries, as we’ve previously done for the Dose Index Registry® (DIR). After submitting the participation agreement, DIR participants download a free software tool to automatically receive, anonymize and securely transfer dose index data to the registry. Once set up, virtually no human intervention is necessary.

Any artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm inherently requires data. In coordination with the ACR Data Science InstituteTM, we’ll leverage NRDR data to assist in the development of better AI algorithms that advance and improve decision making.

That’s not to say that practices won’t continue to have an active participation in measurement. Radiology practices routinely analyze NRDR data, comparing themselves to the rest of the database and leveraging findings to refine their practices to make healthcare better, more accessible, more efficient and more affordable. In fact, NRDR is one of the only ways a practice can ensure it is doing things in a way that meets or exceeds the standards.

NRDR registries can also advance teamwork by bringing together not only radiologists and administrators, but the entire medical imaging team – including referring physicians, technologists and physicists. By convening around the data, we can assist in decision making at every level to ensure that we arrive at the proper clinical decisions more quickly, and more cost-effectively, than ever before.

It’s also likely that participation in registries will soon become a necessity, not just a useful tool. As radiology and health care increasingly move from volume-based to value-based care, payment may soon be increasingly tied to metrics. Thanks to the longevity of NRDR, we are poised to be the leader in this area and serve as an ally in helping our members meet the requirements of the future of radiology.

  • How has your radiology practice used NRDR?
  • Have you worked across teams to engage referring physicians, administrators, technologists, physicists and others in the data gathering procedures and the way you analyze the data?

Please provide your thoughts the comments section below or on the Engage discussion board (login required).

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