The development of evidence-based standards regarding the appropriate use of medical imaging and reducing variability in clinical practice, particularly in oncology conditions, has been specifically identified by the Institute of Medicine and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as a priority for improving the United States healthcare delivery system, with an end goal of improving patient-centered outcomes. We believe that a substantial gap in the delivery of oncology care is a sub-optimal level of knowledge by treating physicians regarding the appropriate use of advanced imaging alternatives, such as computed tomography (CT) alone compared to CT combined with positron emission tomography (PET) using [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) (i.e., FDG-PET/CT). There is a need for dissemination of best available evidence using novel and interactive web- based or portable electronic tools to reduce unwanted variability in the ordering of advanced imaging studies and to improve appropriate use, which should positively impact patient-centered outcomes. Our project focuses on enhancing and expanding the Society of Nuclear Medicine's strong existing infrastructure for disseminating knowledge to provider stakeholders. To have the greatest impact on patient outcomes in oncology related to using advanced imaging strategies, our proposed project would make existing evidence easily accessible using innovative and novel dissemination tools with a primary audience of treating physicians in three oncology conditions: lung, breast, and colon cancer. We have selected higher-prevalence oncology conditions and we believe that the greatest impact on patient-centered outcomes will occur through developing collaborations among professional organizations serving the oncology, surgery, and molecular imaging communities focused on treating oncology patients. Our approach would substantially improve existing dissemination networks for oncologists and surgeons to improve their understanding of appropriate strategies for molecular imaging and anatomic imaging in the treatment management and planning decisions for oncology patients. We will develop evidence-based, multi-media tools to aid clinical decision making, and we will make these tools widely accessible to treating providers through portable learning platforms and/or applications (e.g., smart phones, tablets, and laptops).
The ordering of advanced radiology procedures for oncology conditions by treating physicians is not performed consistently by all practicing oncologists or surgeons, such as for lung, breast, and colon cancer patients. Doctors may not fully understand all of the benefits and risks associated with different advanced imaging procedures, such as using computed tomography (CT) alone or using CT combined with positron emission tomography (PET), referred to as a PET/CT scan. As part of this project, the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM), the leading organization in the appropriate use of molecular imaging, will develop evidence-based, multi-media tools to aid clinical decision making by surgeons and oncologists, and we will make these tools widely accessible to treating providers through portable learning tools (e.g., smart phones, tablets, and laptops).