News FocusRadiology

Decision-Making

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Science  25 Feb 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6020, pp. 1003
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6020.1003

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Summary

James Thrall, chief radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, has discovered in the past 6 years just how much doctors rely on computed tomography (CT) scans. In 2005, MGH created and implemented a program that scores the appropriateness of a CT scan every time a doctor orders one and compares its worth to that of other imaging techniques given the patient's symptoms. The software shares the score with doctors and offers them a chance to change their mind. As a result, the quarterly growth rate in MGH's use of CT scans has dropped from 3% to 0.25%.