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Actionable and Incidental Findings in Medical Imaging (Radiology)

Actionable & Incidental Findings.

radloop® filling the wide gap between in patient care and quality.

An actionable finding (AF) is a finding on a medical imaging report that requires further evaluation. AFs include critical findings (CF) and non-critical incidental findings (IF).

According to the ACR white paper on parameters for communication of diagnostic imaging findings;

“Critical findings suggest a need for immediate or urgent intervention.

Incidental findings are those that the interpreting physician believes are significant and unexpected, may have a reasonable probability of impacting the patients’ health, and may not require immediate attention but, if not acted on, may worsen over time and likely result in an adverse patient outcome.”

What constitutes a CF is certainly more clearly understood and widely accepted. They’re usually defined by an institutional committee of radiologists and other department members that agree upon which findings require immediate non-routine communication. We would venture to guess that there is not much subjectivity when it comes to what those findings are. For example, ruptured aneurysm, pulmonary embolus, tension pneumothorax are probably on every list.

There is a stark contrast between the critical findings (CF) and the incidental findings (IF). Mainly in that, there is much greater disagreement on what is significant, what may be unexpected, and what may result in an adverse outcome. This level of subjectivity creates inherent differences in the way incidental findings are reported, communicated, and managed.

Until recently there has been little attention paid to this issue. Many care gaps exist where patient reports fall and often go unattended. For decades people have been the victim of delayed care and sometimes no care. This is a result of lost reports, reports never viewed, recommendations for follow-up not seen in the report, and an inability to manage the workflow needed to bring the recommendation to an acceptable outcome.

Thus, radloop® has filled a wide gap in patient care and quality. Incidental findings require and deserve as much attention as critical findings. They just need to be managed differently, not with less diligence. Because what may not seem significant today, may end up being very significant in the future.

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A smarter way to coordinate care.