WHAT IS THE TECHNOLOGY?
Imaging tests, such as X rays, ultrasound scans, CT and MRI scans are commonly used – there were approximately half a million performed last year in the USA alone. These tests have multiple roles in health care, such as detecting disease and helping to predict disease progression. However, at present, patients and their health care providers have limited ways to make informed choices about which tests to choose. This is because currently most evaluations of imaging tests (as well as most other kinds of tests) is based on their accuracy, which is important, but overlooks many other patient centered outcomes that may be equally important to patients. For example, a test might have reassuring effects, and give patients more knowledge about their disease and let them control a disease better. In contrast, a test might cause fear or anxiety, may cause pain or other adverse effects, or falsely reassure someone. These “patient centered outcomes” are vitally important, but currently are rarely measured or compared.
The PROD study will provide new guidelines to allow patients and healthcare provider to make more informed choices about diagnostic tests. We are exploring patient, caregiver, and health care stakeholder experiences with different types of imaging tests, and identify which patient-centered outcomes are important to them. We are using this will produce new “how to” guidelines to help “weigh up” imaging tests.
WHAT IS THE TECHNOLOGY’S POTENTIAL IMPACT ON PRIMARY CARE?
Diagnostic imaging is one of the fastest growing areas of technology in health care. Being able to define the value of tests has always been difficult, compared to treatments or interventions. However, it is precisely this gap which the PROD research will fill. Our research involves collaboration between key players in this area, including the American College of Radiologists, diagnostic imaging industries, as well as patients and clinicians.
WHAT IS PCI-LAB DOING?
Identify which patient-centered outcomes are most important to include in evaluations of imaging tests.
Produce guidelines to facilitate diagnostic imaging tests’ value to patients, clinicians and the health care system.
Explore how to communicate information on the comparative benefits and any potential harms of different imaging tests to consumers.