From promise to practice (and back)

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Lisa Fratt, Editor

Conventional wisdom tells us it can take a decade or longer for medical advances to translate into routine clinical practice. The bench-to-bedside transition is a multi-step process that begins with clinical evidence. The imaging community has not yet fully embraced additional parts of the process, such as data-driven training and comprehensive communication.

Not all training is equal, and studies that calculate the impact of specific training methods on practice are few and far between. Indeed, training was not the focus of the National CT Colonography (CTC) Trial; however, the trial did require training to minimize intra-observer variability.

Researchers devised a model that worked for abdominal radiologists, showing that tailored training may accelerate the CTC learning curve and provide a firm foundation for disseminating CTC into a variety of practice settings.

In some cases, practice has to return to promise. Take CT imaging. Although the current radiation dose storm hardly qualifies as a boon for CT imaging, the dark cloud does have a silver lining.

The hullaballoo has persuaded various professional organizations, providers and vendors to unite and emphasize the role of medically appropriate CT imaging. The American College of Radiology, Society of Cardiovascular Computer Tomography, Society of Computed Body Tomography and Magnetic Resonance and other groups are working overtime to peel back the hyperbole in order to communicate the clinical value of studies like coronary CT angiography.

Yes, communication is essential, and proactive communication beats reactive messaging any day of the week. If the imaging community can remain proactive, CT will continue to deliver its promise. It’s that simple and that complicated.

Keep communicating, keep learning and keep in touch.

Lisa Fratt
Editor of Health Imaging & IT