Use Appropriateness Criteria When Ordering CT Scans

Following excerpt is from my AMA daily email. I have often opined on the same subject. It is imperative that the public and caretakers alike understand the risks and benefits of medical imaging. As a radiologist, I know too well the number of scans I see daily. Most of the scans I read and see in a day are hopefully helpful to the physicians and caretakers ordering them. But there are studies that cross my path that make one question. Appropriateness criteria assist ordering physicians and caretakers in hopefully decreasing the number of inappropriate studies being ordered.

Excerpt:

Physicians point to health risks associated with CT use.

"In a strongly-worded New York Times (1/31, A27, Redberg, Subscription Publication) op-ed, cardiologist Rita F. Redberg and radiologist Rebecca Smith-Bindman discuss the increased cancer risk associated with medical imaging. In particular, they decry the overuse of CT scans, and argue that the scans are not always performed as safely as they should be. Redberg and Smith-Bindman say that medical professionals have taken steps to combat the problem; they point out, for instance, that “the American College of Radiology and the American College of Cardiology have issued ‘appropriateness criteria’ to help doctors consider the risks and benefits before ordering a test,” but the authors contend that “we need clear standards, published by professional radiology societies or organizations like the Joint Commission or the FDA.” The authors conclude that “we need to find ways to use” CT scans “without killing people in the process.”"