OTTAWA, Feb. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR), the national association representing radiologists in Canada, is proud to be part of a timely campaign aimed at assisting patients and their physicians in making informed decisions around medical care. The Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) campaign, to be launched later in the spring, aligns with the CAR's focus to promote appropriate, safe and cost-efficient high quality health care for Canadians.
Physicians refer patients for medical imaging exams, like x-rays, ultrasound, CT scans and MRI, which are interpreted by radiologists. Radiologists are doctors who are specialized in medical imaging and who interpret exams to help diagnose, treat and monitor their patients' injuries, disease and suspected conditions. Adding to the public discussion where doctors are "urged to limit testing to contain costs"i, Dr. Jacques Lévesque, CAR President, says "We cannot lose sight of what is most important, making sure those who need medical imaging tests get the right tests at the right time and that the focus is always on providing high quality patient care. That's the bottom line for us as physicians."
For more than a decade, the CAR has been creating guidance to help physicians, working with their patients, determine what, if any, imaging test is most appropriate for the patient's clinical presentation. "We are proud that in Canada so many efforts in medical imaging are already underway to guide decisions. We have referral guidelines available, triage MRI and CT requests, use picture archiving and communications systems to store previous exams which can help reduce duplication of exams, and set limits to name just a few. In Canada, we already don't routinely do pre-op chest x-rays or CT scans for acute sinusitis, for example, if they are not indicated for those clinical situations," adds Dr. Lévesque. "This means we don't see a high percentage of inappropriate tests overallii, and as imaging physicians we are committed to continuing efforts to use imaging resources as optimally as possible and to ensuring that the quality of patient care is always front and centre."
A Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) commentary released this week about the Choosing Wisely Canada campaign states: "In fact, given the nature of how the health care system is funded in Canada, Choosing Wisely Canada may not necessarily reduce overall health care cost. However, the campaign has the potential to improve the value of available resources by ensuring that they are used more effectively."iii
Last week, radiologists engaged in a public discussion on another issue related to quality patient care: breast cancer screening. "Women should continue to seek breast cancer screening using mammography," said Dr. Lévesque, speaking to concerns over results from the Canadian National Breast Screening Study (CNBSS) published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). "We would be very concerned if women suddenly felt there is no need to pursue breast cancer screening, when in fact, several other breast cancer screening reports indicate the opposite."
The public discussion on breast cancer screening illustrates why the CAR takes every opportunity to support initiatives that encourage physicians and their patients to make decisions about their health care that are based on evidence and informed dialogue. A campaign like Choosing Wisely Canada is one tool to facilitate dialogue, allowing physicians and patients together to make informed decisions about which exam is needed and which one is not. Patients and their referring physicians, together with the medical imaging experts, are crucial partners in making continued improvements in our health care system.
About the CAR
The Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) is the national voice of radiology, committed to promoting the highest standards in patient-centered imaging, lifelong learning and research. Radiologists are an integral part of the healthcare team. www.car.ca
i Globe and Mail, February 18, 2014, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/medical-associations-to-urge-canadas-doctors-to-limit-unnecessary-tests/article16953492/.
ii Fraser J. Appropriateness of Imaging in Canada. CARJ. 2013; 6:82-84.
iii Levinson W, Huynh T. Engaging physicians and patients in conversations about unnecessary tests and procedures: Choosing Wisely Canada [e-pub ahead of print]. CMAJ. doi:10.1503/cmaj.131674, accessed February 18, 2014. hey are used more effectively."
SOURCE: Canadian Association of Radiologists
For further information:
Josée Roy-Pilon, Director of Communications and Events
Canadian Association of Radiologists
613 860-3111, ext. 203 | [email protected]