Not a mind-blowing revelation, but when doctors are told that the information they want already exists, they don’t order more tests (usually).
And while the results of the study summarized in this article reflect only a small decrease in new CT exams being ordered (“physicians canceled orders after receiving the alerts about 6 percent of the time, making for a net cancellation of 1.7 percent of studies. In a control group, physicians canceled only .9 percent of alerts.”), every bit counts.
And it reduces the radiation the patient receives, as well as helps keep the Radiology schedule free for really important exams.
A goal to simply reduce the number of exams performed is misguided. This blog post summarizes a proposed model to help separate the necessary from unnecessary exams.