We order a lot of radiology tests in the ICU. But for new providers (and sometimes even those of us with experience), it can be confusing what test I really want. When you order a test, almost every system will have you list the indications, why you’re doing the test. This isn’t actually some administrator micromanaging you and making you justify every test, it helps radiology determine if this is the most appropriate test and helps the radiologist give you a more valuable interpretation.
But, what if you need some help deciding which test to order beforehand? The American College of Radiology has you covered. The ACR has a wonderful tool call the ACR Appropriateness Criteria. This tool requires you to set up a free account, but then you can search for the exam you need. It will tell you the preferred modality (X-ray, CT, MRI, US) and whether or not you need contrast. For a quick reference, the radiologists at Radia have developed this quick reference guide to help their providers decide the best study to order, and they’re good enough to make it publically available.