The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists Dean of the Faculty of Radiology, Dr Gregory Slater
"We don't want our patients on a treadmill for something that wasn't right at the start."
Choosing Wisely Australia launch: Dr Gregory Slater
DR GREGORY SLATER:
In some areas, much of our time and our work is put towards imaging that we would regard as low value, low return. The whole thing can put the patient on a bit of a treadmill of further investigation and time when really that wasn't appropriate at the start.
We recognise that it's vitally important that radiology be involved in the Choosing Wisely initiative. All of this is about changing the patient expectation that they're going to get a test and about the pressure that's on the referring doctor to actually do a test.
It's got benefits for the patients, for our members, but also for the referring doctors in that they realise that it's appropriate to have a discussion with the patient about what's appropriate and what's good, rather than just writing out a form for another test.
I'd like to talk about the recommendation for lower back pain. Most patients who present to the GP with acute lower back pain have non-specific back pain, which is not due to a serious cause, so most of these patients will get better, and the GP has the knowledge and the skills, using the guidelines, to separate those with a serious cause from those who don't need any further investigation, but can proceed straight to measures such as pain killers and mobilisation and reassurance that what they have is not serious. And this is really what patients need.