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Medical Imaging app: Reduce unnecessary radiology tests

by Iltifat Husain, MD

Unnecessary medical imaging tests results in exposure to radiation, health waste, and can lead to poor health outcomes. We want to apply algorithms that will prevent this from happening.

Winston Salem, NC Health Information Technology

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About this project

The problem we solve:
Up to $12 billion is wasted each year due to unnecessary medical imaging . Unnecessary imaging has several downstream effects that are very troublesome: leading to unnecessary surgical procedures, increased surveillance imaging (due to incidental findings), and most serious -- exposing patients to ionized radiation. Increased exposure to ionized radiation has the potential to elevate a patient's lifetime risk of developing cancer. A landmark Lancet study ( even showed how CT scans to children can increase the risk of cancer. In 2012 the FDA created an initiative to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure from medical imaging -- one of their key principles was "Justification". The FDA stated patients should have access to information that permits a discussion of whether a particular imaging test should be done. We are solving this problem.

About our solution:
Our solution will be a free medical app that will reduce unnecessary medical imaging. We will utilize similar techniques we used when we created the HEART Pathway app -- using validated and evidence based decision literature. In this case, the app will have a physician algorithm and patient algorithm. Often times physicians cite defensive medicine and lack of time in ordering unnecessary medical imaging. Our app will focus on using algorithms to explain why patients don't necessarily need a head CT after trauma, a CT scan or MRI of their back, and many more. We have used evidence based data to create our algorithms and pathways, such as the PECARN criteria, Canadian CT head Injury Rules, and more. Patients will get easy to understand information on why a test isn't being performed and how much radiation exposure they are saving themselves from. Physicians will be able to keep track of how much cumulative radiation exposure they saved all their patients.
Progress to date: We want to create a free app that any patient or physician can use. We have already created the key algorithms that we will employ within the app. We are going to be using a similar framework as our HEART Pathway app. Since the architecture of the app will be similar to our already released app we should be able to produce the app in a cost effective manner.

About Our Team

Dr. Iltifat Husain, MD
Emergency Medicine, Practicing Physician
Location: Winston Salem, North Carolina
Medical school: Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Bio: I am an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine with experience in creating and deploying successful translational medicine projects. I created the website iMedicalApps when I was a medical student. It's now the most popular physician run medical publication on mobile technology. I am also the co-creater of the HEART Pathway app, a app that reduces over-testing and hospital admissions for patients presenting to the ER with chest pain.
Hospital Affiliation: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Title: Assistant Professor
Twitter: @iltifatMD

About Our Company

Decision Point Informatics
Location: Winston Salem, North Carolina
Product stage: proto
Sales: Working on it
Employees: 1-2

How We Help Patients

Our app will utilize evidence based algorithms that will reduce unnecessary medical imaging tests from being performed. This will reduce exposure of ionized radiation to patients from CT scans and other types of radiation imaging -- reducing the chances of a patient developing cancer from cumulative radiation exposure. The app will also reduce health care costs by reducing the number of unnecessary imaging tests that are ordered.

How We Help Education

Our app will transform physician education because the evidence based algorithms and explanations of them will teach medical students and residents on proper indications to order medical imaging. This will help our future physicians learn there are great evidence based decision tools that can help prevent ordering unnecessary imaging tests. Unfortunately, medical students are not taught these key algorithms as a part of their baseline curriculum and often are not exposed to these evidence based tools in the clinical setting. Our app will be a mixture of the evidence based tools on reducing unnecessary imaging -- bringing evidence based data to the patient bedside.

How We Help Physicians

Our app will help physicians perform better care in two ways: 1) Physician education and point of care tool: Physicians will be able to use the app at a patient's bedside to determine if a medical imaging test really needs to be ordered. There will be an educational component that physicians can read at a later time as well. 2) Patient education: Physicians often do not have the time necessary to explain to a patient why they don't need a particular imaging test done. Physicians will be able to recommend this app to their patient (the app will have a "patient side") and their patient will be able to learn why an imaging test was not done and the amount of radiation their physician saved them from receiving. We expect this will help improve the patient experience and help save physicians time.

Challenge Mission

Mission: Our solution will reduce the amount of unnecessary medical imaging that is done. This will reduce the amount of radiation exposure that patients receive and also reduce health care costs.
Use of funds: We would use the $25,000 to fund the completion of our medical app. Our goal is to create a free medical app. The app will have a "physician" pathway and a "patient" pathway.
Intellectual Property Status: We have filed a provisional IP for our decision pathway algorithms.
FDA Status: Our app will not require FDA clearance.
Personal Message: If you're a health care provider who wants a free decision tool to help determine if an imaging test needs to be done please support our project. You can also recommend this app to your patients to help them understand why you did not order a particular imaging test.


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    05/15/2016 Dr. Iltifat Husain - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/15/2016 Dr. Iltifat Husain - Physician

    Followed the project.













Iltifat Husain, MD
Assistant Professor
Wake Forest University School of Medicine

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