Quality of care and patient safety considerations underpin all the work the ESR does. The ESR advocates a holistic approach to quality and safety in radiology, and there are several initiatives across the ESR embodying this principle.
The ESR Quality, Safety and Standards Committee (QSSC) is charged with developing and implementing our quality and safety agenda. A number of QSSC subcommittees and working groups are dedicated to specific topics including radiation protection, clinical audit or eHealth.
In 2013 and 2015, the Global Summit on Radiological Quality and Safety (GSRQS) was hosted alternately by the ESR and the American College of Radiology as a forum for decision makers in the field of radiology to engage in strategic discussion and exchange views on the status of medical imaging around the world.
Quality and safety are overarching concepts and the ESR's initiatives often involve cooperation with other medical professionals, patients and political institutions, so many quality and safety initiatives are linked to the ESR's EU and international affairs efforts:
Quality means different things to different people. Patients expect to receive high-quality examinations and reports in a timely and efficient manner, and to be confident that their radiation exposure is justified, minimised and safety of procedures assured. Payers have a particular interest in appropriateness and good outcomes with minimisation of costs.
In the United States, healthcare payments are increasingly linked to quality and outcome metrics. Examples of good practice include department quality and value scorecards to capture data on appropriateness, and various quality metrics to provide evidence-based data.
Similar trends are emerging in Europe, and the ESR has established a working group on value-based imaging to evaluate the situation in Europe, develop an ESR concept for value in radiology, and support radiologists in fulfilling their central role in patient care. It is in the interest of radiologists themselves to demonstrate the value of their service, and develop appropriate metrics, which capture their true contribution and added value to patient care.
The ESR and HIMSS Analytics have developed the Digital Imaging Adoption Model (DIAM) to assess the maturity of imaging IT in radiology, which was launched at ECR 2016. To date 41 hospitals from more than 15 countries have joined in on the project and received their reports. Among them are several hospitals in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Russia, as well as participants from Sweden, USA, Belgium, Finland, Italy and Poland.
The self-assessment tool is now ready for hospital imaging departments and imaging centres to help them benchmark in regard to their IT infrastructure, to identify potential gaps as well as to plan their IT strategy.
Imaging referral guidelines are an important tool to ensure quality of care and patient safety in radiology. The ESR has long supported the use of evidence-based guidelines for imaging referrals, and advocates clinical decision support systems as the most effective way of implementing guidelines in clinical practice. This is reflected in DIAM, where CDS is a requirement for stages 5, 6, and 7.
Working with the American College of Radiology and National Decision Support Company, ESR iGuide is the ESR's solution to make actionable guidance for appropriate imaging easily available everywhere in Europe and beyond.