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27 Apr 2018

The AMA has released its first-ever comprehensive, overarching diagnostic imaging policy.

It brings together in one document all of the AMA’s existing policies on diagnostic imaging issues.

The AMA Position Statement on Diagnostic Imaging 2018 highlights an ongoing commitment to supporting doctors who provide diagnostic imaging services.

It also repeats the AMA’s support for doctors who refer their patients for diagnosis, monitoring, and specialist treatment.

Launching the document in April, AMA President Dr Michael Gannon said diagnostic imaging plays a critical role in 21st century health care, yet it is often undervalued.

“It underpins and guides much of what we do in medicine,” Dr Gannon said.

“It is integral to diagnosis and screening, formulating treatment plans and monitoring responses, performing minimally invasive procedures, and interventional procedures.

“Investment in high quality diagnostic imaging services ultimately saves taxpayers from higher downstream costs in the acute care sector.

“It also greatly improves the patient’s health care experiences and outcomes.”

The AMA has long called on the Federal Government to provide realistic reimbursements to patients through Medicare so that diagnostic imaging services remain affordable to people who need them.

Many people delay or are deterred from accessing diagnostic services because of high upfront costs, which ultimately leads to even higher downstream costs.

The Position Statement also highlights the clinical and ethical importance of people living in regional, rural, and remote areas having access to comprehensive, local diagnostic services.

The Senate Community Affairs Committee report on diagnostic imaging equipment access, which was released in March, also highlights the financial pressure on patients who need to travel for these specialist services.

The AMA Position Statement on Diagnostic Imaging 2018 also supports:

  • Radiologists being able to determine the most clinically appropriate service for the diagnosis of a patient’s condition;
  • the importance of Radiologists supervising services provided in radiology practices;
  • ongoing research to underpin evidence-based practice, and education to implement this practice;
  • the current national accreditation scheme, which ensures all providers, practices, and sites offering diagnostic imaging services meet high standards of safety and quality; and
  • funding through the existing fee-for-service model, which should be sufficient to cover the individual service as well as quality-related activities. 

The AMA Position Statement on Diagnostic Imaging 2018 can be found at: https://ama.com.au/position-statement/diagnostic-imaging-2018

CHRIS JOHNSON

 


Published: 27 Apr 2018