Minnies Awards: National Decision Support Company Named Best New Radiology Vendor

Best New Radiology Vendor

Winner: National Decision Support Company

While its ACR Select software came in second in the race for Best New Radiology Software, National Decision Support Company (NDSC) scored a nice consolation prize, being named the Best New Radiology Vendor by the Minnies expert panel.

NDSC was founded by an executive team that includes Michael Mardini, who has an impressive track record in founding imaging informatics companies. These include Talk Technology, which was bought by Agfa HealthCare in 2001, and Commissure, which was the recipient of the Minnies award for Best New Radiology Vendor in 2006 and was subsequently acquired byNuance in 2007.

Mardini and the rest of his team are hoping lightning strikes again with NDSC, which is theexclusive distributor of ACR Select, a decision-support software platform based on the American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria. The software attacks the problem of overutilization of advanced imaging exams, which is costing the healthcare system millions in unnecessary costs and, in the case of some modalities such as CT, exposing patients to unnecessary radiation.

The idea is that ACR Select puts the information needed for more appropriate ordering at the fingertips of referring physicians — potentially replacing other utilization management tools such as radiology benefits managers.

ACR Select

Click image to enlarge.
The ACR Select decision-support platform is based on ACR Appropriateness Criteria. Image courtesy of NDSC.

ACR Select went into commercial release in mid-2013, and NDSC has been focusing its attention on performing integrations with major electronic health record (EHR) platforms used by clinicians to order studies. Integrations have already been completed with software offered byEpic SystemsCerner, and Allscripts, and they are underway with applications marketed byMeditech and Siemens Healthcare.

Referring physicians encounter ACR Select through their EHR software whenever they try to order an imaging exam. After entering data on the patient’s condition, clinicians are presented with a structured list of indications that highlight the appropriate imaging studies for that condition.

Should a referring physician wish for additional consultation, NDSC has a module that enables a healthcare organization to connect the clinician with a radiologist, according to Bob Cooke, vice president of marketing and strategy at the company. ACR Select can also be used in an offline mode, apart from the exam-ordering process, as a reference tool for physicians to determine the appropriateness of a scan they are considering. Doctors can even use ACR Select to consult with patients on exams patients might want but which aren’t clinically appropriate.

The latter features highlight how NDSC views ACR Select as more than simply a tool to nudge referring physicians to order less imaging.

“This is an incredibly powerful enabling tool to showcase how imaging can help improve patient care, as opposed to something focused on simply utilization management,” Cooke toldAuntMinnie.com. “We want to demonstrate that by using content we can drive imaging to a more appropriate level, and help radiologists define their role in the care cycle.”

Runner-up: Montage Healthcare Solutions

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