In late 2015, the ACR launched the Radiology Support, Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCAN™) to bring radiologists and referring clinicians together to improve imaging appropriateness. Based on relevant Choosing Wisely® topics, R-SCAN delivers immediate access to clinical decision support (CDS) technology and web-based tools that help optimize imaging care, reduce unnecessary imaging exams and lower the cost of care.
At the two-year mark, numerous radiology practices have completed R-SCAN projects in collaboration with referring clinicians, and they have achieved quantifiable results. Here’s a look at the cumulative impact of R-SCAN projects.
A snapshot of results across all practices and R-SCAN topics at the end of 2017 shows that the combined efforts between radiologists and referring clinicians are having a positive impact on the ordering of value-added imaging exams:
- Initial results of 28 practices show ordering of appropriate imaging improved by nearly 15%
- In total, more than 3,200 cases have been reviewed retrospectively (1,700 baseline and 1,500 after an educational intervention)
- The majority of projects involved imaging for suspected pulmonary embolism, low back pain and inconsequential adnexal cysts
Achieving IA Credit
In addition to achieving these impressive results, participating in an R-SCAN project allows radiologists and collaborating clinicians to meet Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Improvement Activity (IA) requirements.
Radiologists and collaborating referring clinicians participating in MIPS earn seven medium-weight IA credits for completing an R-SCAN project. By completing one R-SCAN project together, both radiologists and referring clinicians can meet all of their IA requirements to achieve MIPS credit.
CMS Highlights R-SCAN Results
More than 100 practices across the United States are engaged in R-SCAN projects and their combined efforts are beginning to demonstrate the positive impact radiologists can have in managing imaging care.
Thanks to the quantifiable results of R-SCAN over the last two years, the ACR continues to strengthen its relationship with CMS as a Strategic Alignment Network (SAN) under the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPi). ACR is one of 10 SAN grant awardees participating in TCPi.
On the heels of the 2017 CMS Grand Rounds presentation of R-SCAN by Gregory N. Nicola, MD, CMS invited Nancy Fredericks, MBA, to present R-SCAN results at the 2018 CMS Quality Conference, Feb. 12–14, 2018. During a session about effective partnerships between SANs and Practice Transformation Networks (PTNs), Fredericks highlighted two Imaging 3.0 case studies that showcase R-SCAN results:
Engaging the Physician — Baylor College of Medicine radiologists worked with referring physicians to reduce unnecessary imaging for low back pain through R-SCAN. Following a radiologist-led educational intervention, clinicians ordered nearly 38% fewer imaging studies for low back pain and increased their appropriateness rating for such orders by approximately 23%.
Backed by Guidance — Hershey Medical Center’s R-SCAN project decreases inappropriate low back pain imaging and utilization in the emergency department. Following an educational intervention, inappropriate plain-film imaging for low back pain in the ED decreased more than 40%, and utilization decreased more than 35%.