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Clinical decision support: the role of ACR Appropriateness Criteria

Chan, S. S.; Francavilla, M. L.; Iyer, R. S.; Rigsby, C. K.; Kurth, D.; Karmazyn, B. K.

Pediatr Radiol. 2019 Mar 30; 49(4):479-485


Clinical decision support is a way to decrease inappropriate imaging exams and promote judicious use of imaging resources. The adoption of clinical decision support will be incentivized by requiring the use of approved mechanisms to qualify for Medicare reimbursement starting in January 2020. Insurance providers base their reimbursement policies on Medicare, so clinical decision support could soon become relevant to pediatric imaging. We present the process behind the American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria (a set of appropriate use criteria developed by the ACR) that will form the basis for software that can be used to fulfill the criteria for clinical decision support. For most organizations, this software is expected to be the easiest way to implement clinical decision support. Clinical decision support will affect how providers order imaging exams. This article should help readers understand how clinical decision support is expected to change the practice of the ordering providers, how the ACR Appropriateness Criteria are related to clinical decision support and how the ACR Appropriateness Criteria are developed. This will help the interpreting radiologist better communicate with the referring clinician, including informing the latter about how the clinical decision support software is making decisions.

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