Fighting Misinformation Is Our Responsibility

Smetherman_Dana_1This post was contributed by American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission Chair Dana H. Smetherman, MD, MPH, MBA, FACR.

There is a steady drip of low-value mammography information out there. That flow was slowed recently as two high-profile critics of breast cancer screening reportedly either resigned from or were forced out of prestigious positions, but the critics will return.

We must continue to counter misinformation with facts. And now we have some new tools to help.

But tools are only effective if we use them.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has produced a series of patient and provider education videos  that we all can:

  • Post on our practice websites
  • Embed in emails to patients and referring providers
  • Use on our practice and personal social media sites
  • Include in presentations at scientific meetings and local speaking opportunities

The videos provide the facts on hot button issues like:

  • Breast cancer overdiagnosis
  • How often women are called back for a second look (and what happens then)
  • What Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) and Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET) databases – and randomized, controlled trials – show about mammography’s impact on breast cancer deaths

The Mammography Saves Lives website has also been updated with downloadable resources to help you explain the benefits and risks of mammography and the impact of breast density on mammography effectiveness.

We can’t rely solely on referring physicians to inform patients about breast cancer screening. We must offer our expertise to the discussion.

These ACR resources make it easier for us to do that. We just have to do it.

No one else will.

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


Improving Medical Diagnosis Is a Team Effort

Dr Thorwarth_20140414_008This post was contributed by American College of Radiology Chief Executive Officer William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR.

The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine recently launched its ACT for Better Diagnosis campaign. As a physician, I am sure we all support the goal of improving diagnosis.  In fact, the ACR has championed several efforts that will undoubtedly further this goal.

For instance, at the campaign launch, medical providers from the participating societies and government agencies stressed the importance of:

  • Clinical Decision Support (CDS) use
  • Specialist Involvement in Selecting Appropriate Tests
  • Patient-Doctor Shared Decision-Making and Patient Involvement in System Design
  • Pursuit of Artificial Intelligence Tools to Aid Diagnosis

I am proud to say that the College is a bit of pioneer in advancing all of these areas:

Improving medical diagnosis is a team effort. We need to continue to work together as a College and work together with our referring providers, other societies and our patients to improve the care we provide.

  • What kinds of efforts do you have in place at your practice or health care system to improve diagnosis?

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

Clinical Decision Support Will Soon Be Mainstream

Ashima LallThis post was contributed by Ashima Lall, MD, MBA, FACHE, system chief of performance improvement, Radiology Associates of the Main Line, Riddle Memorial Hospital, Main Line Health (Pennsylvania).

The recent 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) proposed rule confirmed that CMS is serious about requiring providers to consult appropriate use criteria (AUC) prior to ordering advanced imaging — effective Jan. 1, 2020.

That means that using clinical decision support (CDS) to access these AUC will soon be mainstream clinical practice. We just have to connect referring providers with us — the imaging providers. The ACR is here to help.

On Sept. 26 at 7pm Eastern Time, I will take part in the first in a series of free ACR webinars laying out the CDS mandate requirements, demonstrating how Radiology Support, Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCANTM)  participation prepares referring providers for adoption of CDS technology and highlighting steps you can take to support CDS success. This Imaging 3.0 case study outlines a recent effort at my hospital.

I strongly urge you to register for the Sept. 26 webinar and those webinars to follow. I also invite you to visit (and bookmark) the updated ACR Clinical Decision Support Resources section that walks you through what you need to know about the CDS mandate and what you need to do to meet the requirements.

January 2020 sounds like a long way away. It’s not.

Let’s move forward together.

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