Appropriateness Criteria: Valuable guidelines for changing outcomes
In a time where the prices of health care continue to skyrocket, we need to appropriately utilize our limited resources; hence, the inception and adoption of the Appropriateness Criteria.
The Task Force on Appropriateness Criteria by the American College of Radiology (ACR) was conceived in late 1993 and has continuously evolved since. The Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines that are developed by imaging experts, with collaboration with other medical specialties, to assist physicians in making the most appropriate imaging or treatment decision for specific clinical indications. With now more than 20 years of refinement, experience and continual improvement, these decision support systems provide standardized and effective care to all patients.
Starting this year, new Medicare rules require physicians to consider Appropriateness Criteria when ordering imaging studies in order to guide appropriate use.
The ACR Appropriateness Criteria is transparent to both the physicians and the public and is available on the ACR website and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website: the National Guidelines Clearinghouse (NGC).
Therefore, it is imperative that we, as radiologists, ordering physicians, parents, and patients together properly utilize imaging services to help change the outcome and not just contribute to the healthcare cost.
Contributed by Dr. HaiThuy Nguyen and edited by Dr. Alex Towbin.