Clinical decision support for imaging in the era of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

J Am Coll Radiol. 2012 Dec;9(12):907-18.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2012.09.014.


Imaging clinical decision support (CDS) systems provide evidence for or against imaging procedures ordered within a computerized physician order entry system at the time of the image order. Depending on the pertinent clinical history provided by the ordering clinician, CDS systems can optimize imaging by educating providers on appropriate image order entry and by alerting providers to the results of prior, potentially relevant imaging procedures, thereby reducing redundant imaging. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has expedited the adoption of computerized physician order entry and CDS systems in health care through the creation of financial incentives and penalties to promote the "meaningful use" of health IT. Meaningful use represents the latest logical next step in a long chain of legislation promoting the areas of appropriate imaging utilization, accurate reporting, and IT. It is uncertain if large-scale implementation of imaging CDS will lead to improved health care quality, as seen in smaller settings, or to improved patient outcomes. However, imaging CDS enables the correlation of existing imaging evidence with outcome measures, including morbidity, mortality, and short-term imaging-relevant management outcomes (eg, biopsy, chemotherapy). The purposes of this article are to review the legislative sequence relevant to imaging CDS and to give guidance to radiology practices focused on quality and financial performance improvement during this time of accelerating regulatory change.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical / economics*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / economics*
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act / economics*
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Radiology / economics*
  • Radiology / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States