The Rads Consult Web App: Finally, an Easy Way to Access the American College of Radiology (ACR) Guidelines

One of the steepest learning curves in residency education is deciding what imaging tests to order for patients. Should I order an X-ray first or go straight to computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)? Do I order contrast? How do I handle an incidental finding when I get back the CT report? What is the imaging study of choice for a patient with hematuria? Not only are these questions daunting for students and residents, but they can also remain challenging for seasoned providers. Some believe ordering is easy and it is the interpretation that is the hard part. To a certain degree, this is true. But most of us are not reading our own CT, MRI, and ultrasounds — or even X-rays — we rely on our radiologists for the interpretation. For providers with a good relationship with their radiology department, they can maybe just pick up the phone and ask what the best test to order for a given situation. But this is not practical most of the time for primary care provider or radiologist in a busy patient care environment. The American College of Radiology (ACR) has published numerous guidelines on proper imaging and has a dedicated website to their Appropriateness Criteria (AC). These criteria are available free of charge to non-members but can be daunting to navigate via mobile device. No true dedicated ACR app exists for the AC from the ACR or an independent third party.

Evidence-based medicine

The Rads Consult web app contains the entire ACR recommendations for virtually every diagnosis/radiographic imaging scenario. The app includes access to the actual ACR PDFs from within the web app. Users can access the ACR recs via symptom/diagnosis, imaging modality, or body system modalities. Finally, the app contains additional ACR and expert opinion on common radiology questions/answers, incidental findings, and more. Although the ACR recs are largely expert opinion based, they remain the standard of care. Use of this app will help to ensure patients receive the proper imaging studies and avoid unnecessary imaging, unnecessary radiation exposure, and potentially prevent secondary sequelae from imaging studies, radiation, contrast, etc.

What providers would benefit from this App?

Students, residents, mid-levels, primary care providers, hospitalists, emergency medicine, radiologists, nurses, and any staff provider who orders radiographic studies.

 

Price

  •  Free

Likes

  • Interface is easy to use with multiple options to access ACR recommendations
  • Contains links to the actual ACR documents via PDFs
  • Extensive “bonus” material include question/answer section, incidental findings guidance, etc

 

Dislikes

  • Navigation within app occasionally clunky
  • Need active internet connection to navigate interface/download PDFs
  • Not a true “app”

 

Overall

The Rads Consult web app/website brings the most current ACR recommendations for selecting radiographic studies to your smart device/computer without having to be a radiologist or ACR member. Every provider can ensure they are ordering the proper radiologic studies for a specific patient’s condition/suspected condition using this web app. I have been looking for an app that brings the ACR criteria to primary care providers and Rads Consult more than fits the bill. A must-have web app.

 

Overall Score

  •  5.0 stars

User Interface

  •  5.0 stars

Simple interface with multiple modalities to access ACR recs per user preference.

Multimedia Usage

  • 4.5 stars

Web app allows users to access ACR recs via diagnosis, body system, or imaging modality. The interface contains access to the actual ACR PDFs and numerous other table and charts easily viewable on most smart devices/computers.

Price

  • 5.0 stars

Website is free

 

Real-World Applicability

  • 5.0 stars

A must-have web app for any provider of any background who orders and interprets radiology studies. Rads Consult provides users access to the most current ACR recommendations in an easy to use interface viewable from any device.

Device Used For Review

  • iPhone 8 running iOS 12.1.2.     

  

Available for download for all smart devices via web app interface.

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