New Appropriateness Criteria (AC) patient summaries from the American College of Radiology can help patients better understand which imaging tests may be best for their condition or why they may not need an imaging exam at all. The first examples of what may be a first-of-its kind series of summaries created by patients for patients in everyday language are now published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR).
Ultimately, the AC summaries will enable patients to more fully participate in their imaging care. The new patient summaries are less than 250 words, written in language that is easily understood by those with little or no medical experience or training.
The ACR AC are comprised of 237 evidence-based guidelines, created and continually updated by multidisciplinary teams of expert physicians to help providers make the most appropriate diagnostic imaging and image-guided treatment decisions for specific clinical conditions.
“We expect that ordering physicians, radiologists and patients will welcome these summaries,” says Bruce J. Hillman, MD, FACR, JACR editor-in chief. “They can help providers explain why they are requesting a certain imaging test or no test at all. This helps patients more fully participate in their care and promotes a better doctor-patient relationship. They also will promote radiologists’ involvement in the health care team.”
According to the ACR, this may be the first time a medical association has enabled such medical guidelines to be “translated” to be easily understood and used by patients. This is part of the larger ACR effort to provide more patient- and family-centered radiology care.
“These summaries are presented in language as free of medical jargon as possible so that more people will readily understand the information,” says JACR Patient Advocate Associate Editor Andrea Borondy Kitts MS, MPH. “This better equips patients to make informed health care choices and fosters patient-provider collaboration to improve health care.”