ACR seeks input in effort to address radiology’s deadly incidental findings conundrum

The American College of Radiology is seeking input from the field in its effort to address incidental findings care gaps that can result in patient harm or death.

ACR recently scored a $341,000 grant from the prestigious Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop a quality measure set for unexpected abnormalities in imaging studies. With the Closing the Results Follow-up Loop on Incidental Findings project now moving to the next phase, college leaders are seeking feedback from patients and rads on their work.

In an announcement shared Monday, ACR said it sees “tremendous opportunities” to improve imaging follow-up care, once its work is complete.

“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,” Nadja Kadom, MD, co-chair of the Closing the Loop measure development technical expert panel, said in a statement.  

Oftentimes, radiologists detect such unexpected abnormalities in imaging studies done for other purposes, but health systems frequently lack the processes to make sure that patients and providers follow through. Experts estimate that compliance for follow-up ranges from 29% to 77%.

ACR’s project focuses on treatable incidental findings and includes use-case measures for pulmonary nodules and abdominal aortic aneurysms. The set also contains communication measures that apply to radiologists, ordering providers and patients.

The college is seeking comment on the quality metrics through Jan. 7 and “is specifically interested in receiving input on the measures’ feasibility in practice, data capture and ability to measure the intended actions.”

You can find the draft measures here and share your thoughts here.