What if radiographs were only used when we needed them?

Problem To Solve

Radiographs are rarely useful in the absence of trauma. Plain shoulder radiographs are routinely obtained by an orthopedic surgeon during new outpatient visits, even in the absence of trauma. This wasteful practice continues despite the fact that most common diagnoses are soft tissue in nature and can be made through a physical examination. Counterproductive in many cases, they unduly lengthen a patient’s visit, expose a patient to unnecessary radiation, and add to the escalating cost of healthcare.

Our Approach

We are evaluating some of the demographic factors that drive patients to request plain radiographs of the shoulder during their first visit, even when no trauma has occurred. By evaluating a patient’s perceived need for plain shoulder radiographs, we hope to identify those patients who may benefit from further education regarding the use of this imaging modality.