ACR launches EHR-enabled medical imaging platform

July 11, 2012 in Medical Technology

RESTON, VA – Officials at the American College of Radiology (ACR) announced Wednesday that the associations national standard for medical imaging protocols – dubbed the ACR Appropriateness Criteria (AC) – is newly accessible in an EHR-enabled Web services platform.

The technologically-enhanced platform will ensure safe, effective and appropriate use of medical imaging, as the AC will now possess the capability of integration with computerized physician ordering and electronic health record (EHR) systems, officials say.

The ACR has selected the Matthews, N.C.-based National Decision Support Company (NDSC) to provide the technical platform, support and licensing of the AC under the appellation ACR Select.

[See also: Radiology technology expected to grow.]

NDSC will provide EHR vendors with a direct method for healthcare organizations to easily integrate and use the AC guidelines in daily practice.

The ACR AC is a comprehensive clinical decision support database with more than 130 topics and 614 variant conditions that provide evidence-based guidance for the appropriate utilization of all medical imaging procedures. More than 300 volunteer physicians, representing over 20 radiology and non-radiology specialty organizations, participate on the ACR AC expert panels, continuously updating these guidelines, and providing real-time access, via ACR Select, to the latest medical imaging procedure guidance.

“ACR Select will have a substantial impact on the healthcare community by bridging the gap between medical providers and the ACR AC guidelines,” said Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, chair of the ACR board of chancellors. “The commitment from major EHR technology providers to integrate these standards is a testament to the importance of promoting appropriate medical imaging use.”

Although Medicare imaging use has waned since 2008 and imaging continues to be the physician service experiencing the least amount of growth among privately insured Americans according to the Health Care Cost Institute, officials say opportunities still remain to ensure appropriate ordering of scans and maximize the value of these lifesaving tools. 

[See also: EHR alliance to help physicians adopt IT.]

By integrating ACR AC with EHR technology, physicians are able to order the right imaging examination at the appropriate time. ACR officials say EHR technology platforms can improve quality, reduce unnecessary scans and lower imaging costs. 

“We are very excited about our relationship with the ACR,” said Michael Mardini, CEO, NDSC. “Through ACR Select, we’re able to electronically deliver ACR AC in its complete form and uphold the promise of making imaging safe, effective and accessible to those who need it.”

This new partnership between the ACR and NDSC delivers on the promise of appropriate medical imaging, which experts say reduces the number of invasive surgeries, unnecessary hospital admissions, shortens length-of-stay and contributes to improved patient care. 

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