June 18, 2020

ACR Seeks Broad Response to Incidental Findings Survey

The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) proudly applauds the hundreds of radiologists who completed the Closing the Results Follow-Up Stakeholder Survey and who continue to disseminate the physician/healthcare professional stakeholder survey within their professional and personal networks.

However, more input is needed from referring providers to guide two initiatives seeking to improve incidental findings follow-up care. Improving care coordination among radiologists and other clinicians is critical to achieving this goal. For that reason, if you haven’t already completed the Physician and Healthcare Professional survey, we encourage your participation and urge you to ask your referring colleagues to contribute their opinions to the same, brief online questionnaire.

We further ask for your support by distributing the separate patient survey so we may better understand patient preferences related to learning about incidental findings. Please distribute the survey to patients and patient advocacy groups affiliated with your practice, institution, family members and friends.

The surveys can be completed in under 10 minutes.

Input to the brief stakeholder surveys will guide the work of the ACR technical expert panel (TEP) supported by The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Diagnostic Excellence Initiative. The panel will develop quality measures to improve adherence to evidence-based follow-up recommendations for incidentally detected abnormal imaging findings. Survey results will also contribute to the development of a care coordination white paper — a collaboration between the ACR and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) — on the follow-up of incidental imaging findings in the emergency department setting.

Greg Nicola, MD, FACR, the new chair of the ACR Commission on Economics, serves as the ACR chair of the “Improving the Follow-Up of Recommended Imaging for Incidental Findings” white paper with ACEP. He notes that no universal protocol currently exists for the follow-up of incidental radiographic findings and communications about additional imaging not relevant to the patient’s initial evaluation. “This current gap in care coordination will continue to result in greater patient morbidity or mortality, increased care costs and exposure of referring physicians and radiologists to medical and legal risks, until coordinated processes are in place to close the results follow-up loop,” he warned.

Nadja Kadom, MD, director of pediatric neuroradiology and director of quality in the radiology department at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and co-chair of the Closing the Results Follow-Up Loop measure development TEP emphasized that these projects present tremendous opportunities to improve the delivery of evidence-based radiologist-recommended follow-up care. “As a result, we expect to see a greater volume of patients benefiting from the early detection of cancer or other treatable conditions and significantly better outcomes,” Dr. Kadom said.

Please support these initiatives by completing the survey and encouraging other radiologists, referring clinicians, facility administrators, and patients to share their experiences and preferences.

For radiologists and referring physicians - Complete the survey for physicians, clinical and administrative staff

For patients - Complete the survey for patients