AHRA survey: Many imaging providers have not started CDS implementation

Many imaging providers have still not implemented clinical decision support (CDS) software, according to a new survey of more than 250 AHRA members.

Overall, 61 percent of survey respondents answered that they had not implemented or started implementing CDS.

“As you will see from the survey results, there is still a lot of uncertainty in implementation as well as what the proposed rules will include this year,” Sheila M. Sferrella, MAS, RT(R), CRA, chair of the AHRA Regulatory Affairs Committee, said in an article for Link, AHRA’s newsletter. 

Angelic Bush, AHRA’s current president, spoke about the uncertainty surrounding CDS implementation in a recent interview with Radiology Business.

“The concept is brilliant, and you won’t find an imaging leader who disagrees that the concept is brilliant,” Bush said. “But a lot of us have been confused about implementation, and nobody wants to implement such an important process and then fail. It would have a significant impact on hospitals, it could destroy physician relationships, and it could impact patient care.”

Back in February, AHRA hosted stakeholders from various imaging societies and vendors to brainstorm the upcoming CMS requirement that ordering physicians must consult CDS/appropriate use criteria when ordering advanced imaging services. Sferrella, who organized that gathering, says the group is still hard at work “to find a way for the information to flow from the order through to the billing forms, including hospital technical, global and professional environments, without manual intervention by imaging and billing staff.”

It is still unclear when the CMS requirement will go into effect, though it is expected to be by 2020.

Beginning in July 2018, CMS is offering providers the opportunity to take part in a voluntary reporting period. During this period, a QQ modifier can be used that indicates an ordering professional consulted a qualified CDS mechanism for the service in question. While 11 percent of respondents said they plan on participating in this voluntary reporting period, another 50 percent said they were unsure.