Physicians release new pan-Canadian guidelines for wait times for MRI and CT

OTTAWA, March 26, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR), the national association representing radiologists in Canada, released its National Maximum Wait Time Access Targets for Medical Imaging (MRI and CT) report today.

The CAR report highlights 13 recommendations to promote consistent and equitable access to medical imaging care. In a five-point priority classification system, the CAR recommends benchmark target times for MRI and CT examinations to ensure timely access based on medical need. The report recommends definitions for the medical imaging wait time and how wait times are to be measured, tracked and reported to ensure consistent pan-Canadian collection and reporting of data. Other recommendations touch on enhancing the appropriateness of one's imaging care and medical report turn-around times.

Dr. Jamie Fraser, President of the CAR, explains, "The collection, tracking and reporting of medical imaging wait time data varies widely across Canada. The CAR hopes its report will benefit provincial processes by offering standardized definitions and methodology for wait times and measurements." He goes on to say, "A pan-Canadian approach to medical imaging access, with objective and consistent assessment of data, will ultimately promote equitable and timely access to imaging based on medical need, regardless of geographic challenges."

The CAR is a member of the Wait Time Alliance (WTA), which was formed following the 2004 First Ministers' Health Accord, 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care. At that time, First Ministers identified wait times as a priority area for health care and committed to developing benchmarks for medically acceptable wait times in five priority areas — cancer, cardiac care, diagnostic imaging, joint replacement and sight restoration. Comprised of national medical specialties, the WTA established national targets for wait times in the priority areas. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (computed tomography) scans were pinpointed as the areas of focus for diagnostic imaging.

The WTA produces annual reports on the progress of addressing wait times in the five priority areas, as well as other areas. The 2012 WTA report card revealed a notable lack of progress in reducing wait times for MRI and CT. Dr. Julian Dobranowski, Chair of the CAR working group that prepared the report, adds, "Wait times for medical imaging care continue to be a problem impeding optimal patient care. As physicians, we need to help address this challenge. As any guidance provided to physicians should undergo periodic review for continuing relevance in light of any new evidence or literature, the CAR undertook a review of the benchmarks for MRI and CT established in 2005."

Dr. Christopher Simpson, Chair of the WTA, concludes, "The CAR's effort to update the wait time benchmarks for diagnostic imaging is an excellent example of taking the WTA's benchmarking work to a higher level. It serves as an example to physicians, patients and governments of how physicians can provide progressive leadership to improve timely access to care for our patients."

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.

About the WTA
The Wait Time Alliance (WTA) was formed out of concern among Canada's doctors over delayed access to care for their patients, and an interest in working collaboratively with stakeholders to improve wait times. The WTA is comprised of more than a dozen national medical specialty societies whose members are directly involved in providing care to patients.

SOURCE: Canadian Association of Radiologists

For further information:

To speak with Dr. Julian Dobranowski, Chair of the CAR Access and Benchmarks Working Group, please contact:
Josée Roy-Pilon, Director of Communications and Events
Canadian Association of Radiologists
613 860-3111, ext. 203 |

To speak with Dr. Christopher Simpson, Chair of the Wait Time Alliance, about the report and the WTA, please contact:
Lucie Boileau, Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Outreach
Canadian Medical Association
613 731-8610 ext. 1666 |

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Canadian Association of Radiologists

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