Rads Consultation: Review of the application of the Radiology Guide

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Finally, a native app to access American College of Radiology (ACR) guidelines, but at a price!

One of the steepest learning curves in home education is deciding what imaging tests to ask patients for. Do I have to order an x-ray first or go straight to computed tomography (CT) or MRI (MRI)? I ask for contrast? How can I handle an incidental finding when I retrieve the TC report? What is the imaging study of choice for a patient with hematuria? These questions are not only daunting for students and residents, but can also remain a challenge even for experienced providers. Some believe that sorting is easy and the hard part is interpretation.

To some extent, this is true, but most of us are not reading our own CT, MRI and ultrasound, not even X-rays, we rely on our radiologists for interpretation. For providers with a good relationship with their radiology department, they may just pick up the phone and ask what is the best test to ask for for a given situation. But this is not practical most of the time for primary care providers or radiologists in a busy patient care setting. Improper test ordering can lead to inadequate / lost diagnoses, accidental findings, exposure to unnecessary radiation, test delays, and other damage.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has published numerous guidelines on proper image and has a website dedicated to its suitability criteria (AC). These criteria are available for free to non-members, but it can be daunting to browse using a mobile device. There is no real dedicated ACR application for ACR CA. Before, we had it reviewed favorably the Rads Consult web app and has become my reference rads app while I was in the clinic or wards. The authors of Rads consulI have not returned with a native application for iOS and Android. It’s as amazing as the web app – fast, flawless, with much-needed information. Unfortunately, the native app is not as free as the web app (which is no longer maintained) and also requires an annual subscription of $ 14.99. It comes with a free two-week trial, so it’s worth it.

Evidence-based medicine

The new native Rads Consult application contains ACR recommendations for virtually all diagnostic / radiographic imaging scenarios. The application includes access to the actual PDFs of the ACR (or equivalent, i.e. the nuclear medicine society) from the application. The key sections are written by radiologists specializing in this area / modality. Users can access ACR irrigation through symptom / diagnosis, imaging mode, or body system modalities. Finally, the app contains additional ACR and expert opinion on common radiology questions and answers, incidental findings, and more. While ACR irrigation is largely based on expert opinion, it remains the standard of care. Using this app will help ensure that patients receive proper imaging studies and avoid unnecessary imaging, unnecessary radiation exposure, and potentially avoid secondary sequelae from imaging, radiation, contrast, and so on.

Which providers will benefit from this app?

Students, residents, intermediate levels, primary care providers, hospitalists, emergency medicine, radiologists, nurses, any staff provider requesting radiographic studies.

Price

o Free.

I like

  • The interface is easy to use with multiple options to access ACR recommendations
  • It contains links to actual ACR documents via PDF and an extensive question / answer section.
  • Available for iOS and Android as native apps

Does not like

  • Expensive as an annual subscription
  • You need an active internet connection to download PDF
  • There is no section that only lists ACR criteria / documents

Generally

The new version of Rads Consult’s native app replaces the excellent version of the web app I’ve been using for many years. Rads Consult offers the latest ACR recommendations for selecting radiographic studies on your iOS / Android devices without having to be a radiologist or ACR member. The web application still “works”, but is no longer maintained. Each provider can ensure that they are requesting appropriate radiological studies for the condition / suspicion of a specific patient through this native application. This is still a must-have app for providers, but the cost of the annual subscription will be a barrier for some.

Total score

or 4.0 stars

UI

or 5.0 stars

Quick and easy-to-use interface with multiple modes to access ACR irrigations by user preference, including by system, by body and by type of exam.

Multimedia use

or 4.5 stars

The new native app allows users to access ACR recs through diagnosis, body system or imaging mode. The interface contains access to real PDF ACRs and numerous other easily viewable tables and graphs on most smart devices / computers. You can even submit your own questions in the Q / A section!

Price

or 3.0 stars

$ 14.99 / year. Not that the app isn’t worth that much, but watching it go from completely free to now an annual subscription is a bit shocking. Why doesn’t the ACR publish a real application of its guidelines for free?

Applicability to the real world

or 5.0 stars

An essential application for any provider of any training that requests and interprets radiology studies. Rads Consult gives users access to the latest ACR recommendations in an easy-to-use interface for both iOS and Android devices. Unfortunately, it now has a price that may be too high for some.

Device used for review

or iPhone 8 with iOS 14.2.

Available for iOS devices included iPhone and iPad. Also available for Android devices.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.





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