Report: 30% of Canadas imaging procedures unnecessary

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As many as 30 percent of diagnostic imaging procedures are inappropriate or contribute no useful information, a joint report by the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) and the Canadian Government-established Health Council of Canada (HCC) concluded.

“Reducing the amount of unnecessary imaging is essential in maintaining patient safety, reducing wait times and reducing the strain on the financial and health human resources of our healthcare system,” said Ted Lyons, MD and president of CAR. The organization specifically aims to implement medical imaging guidelines at the national level in Canada and claims that reducing unnecessary imaging tests by 10 percent could save Canada’s healthcare system $220 million.

The association especially emphasized the role of family practice physicians in ordering unessential tests. Family physicians wield enormous decision-making authority but are overwhelmed with heavy caseloads and continuously changing technologies and imaging guidelines, CAR said.

CAR is currently redeveloping its Diagnostic Imaging Referral Guidelines, originally produced in 2005, to reflect evolving technologies and considerations surrounding these guidelines to provide physicians with support in ordering the most appropriate diagnostic imaging exam. The new guidelines are expected to be completed later this year, CAR said.