A recently published article in the British Medical Journal highlighted that only 5% of patients required imaging for low back pain. The remaining 90-95% had no indication of a serious cause and could be managed by other means including physical therapy, exercise, or pain management.
This is a common problem for many routine low-value imaging tests.
Apart from exposure to radiation, harm from unnecessary imaging may include further avoidable tests and surgery. They also increase wait times and consume limited health care resources.
With the shutdowns of elective and non-urgent services during the COVID-19 pandemic, health care services are facing increased pressures to address systems capacity and backlogs. All while simultaneously treating patients with growing complex care needs.
That’s why the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council new quality improvement initiative, Essential Imaging, is as important as ever. Essential Imaging helps care providers, team leaders, and staff members partner with patients to implement evidence-based best practices for appropriate medical imaging. The purpose of the initiative is to accelerate the spread and implementation of the BC Guidelines for Appropriate Medical Imaging and improve care provider’s access to evidence-based tools that inform appropriate imaging.
Essential Imaging focuses on five common areas to address in primary and emergency care including:
- Uncomplicated headache
- Minor head injuries
- Suspected pulmonary embolism
- Low back pain
- Moderate to severe osteoarthritis in hip or knee joints
Teams have been invited to enrol in the initiative and are provided with change ideas, campaign resources, and improvement methodologies to help guide best practices at the point of care. Paired with a webinar series, teams can connect with others involved, access subject matter experts, and coaching calls from key leaders to support teams with improvement efforts.
This interdisciplinary team-based initiative is an innovative approach to implementing change and improving appropriateness. Those not in BC will still have the opportunity to learn from these efforts. The content and learnings generated will be accessible online as it progresses.
For more information about Essential Imaging, visit: https://bcpsqc.ca/improve-care/medical-imaging.