The Reston, Va. –based American College of Radiology's (ACR) national standard for imaging protocols—ACR Appropriateness Criteria (AC) —is now available in a digitally consumable format to be incorporated into computerized ordering and electronic health record (EHR) systems. ACR has entered into an exclusive agency agreement with the National Decision Support Company (NDSC) to provide the technical platform, support and licensing of the AC under the name ACR Select.
NDSC, serving as the licensing agent for the ACR AC, will provide EHR vendors with a direct method for healthcare organizations to easily integrate and effortlessly use the Appropriateness Criteria guidelines in daily practice.
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 transparent 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, M.D., FACR, 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 is down since 2008 and imaging is the slowest growing physician service among privately insured Americans according to the Health Care Cost Institute, opportunities remain to ensure appropriate ordering of scans and maximize the value of these lifesaving tools. By integrating ACR AC with EHR technology providers via ACR Select, physicians are able to order the right imaging examination at the right time. EHR technology platforms, powered by ACR Select, can improve quality, reduce unnecessary scans, and lower imaging costs. The platform can be integrated with a wide variety of solutions for payers and providers.
This new partnership between the ACR and NDSC delivers on the promise of appropriate medical imaging, which reduces the number of invasive surgeries, unnecessary hospital admissions, shortens length of stay and greatly contributes to improved patient care.