Optimizing Diagnostic Imaging in the Emergency Department

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While emergency diagnostic imaging use has increased significantly, there is a lack of evidence for corresponding improvements in patient outcomes. Optimizing emergency department (ED) diagnostic imaging has the potential to improve the quality, safety, and outcomes of ED patients, but to date, there have not been any coordinated efforts to further our evidence-based knowledge in this area. The objective of this article is to discuss six aspects of diagnostic imaging to provide background information on the underlying framework for the 2015 Academic Emergency Medicine consensus conference, “Diagnostic Imaging in the Emergency Department: A Research Agenda to Optimize Utilization.” The consensus conference aims to generate a high priority research agenda for emergency diagnostic imaging that will inform the design of future investigations. The six components herein will serve as the group topics for the conference: 1) patient-centered outcomes research; 2) clinical decision rules; 3) training, education, and competency; 4) knowledge translation and barriers to image optimization; 5) use of administrative data; and 6) comparative effectiveness research: alternatives to traditional CT use.

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