Improving the Appropriate Use of Transthoracic Echocardiography: The Echo WISELY Trial

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Background Appropriate use criteria (AUC) have defined transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) indications for which there is a clear lack of benefit as rarely appropriate (rA). Objectives This study sought to investigate the impact of an AUC-based educational intervention on outpatient TTE ordering by cardiologists and primary care providers. Methods The authors conducted a prospective, investigator-blinded, multicenter, randomized controlled trial of an AUC-based educational intervention aimed at reducing rA outpatient TTEs. The study was conducted at 8 hospitals across 2 countries. The authors randomized cardiologists and primary care providers to receive either intervention or control (no intervention). The primary outcome measure was the proportion of rA TTEs. Results One hundred and ninety-six physicians were randomized, and 179 were included in the analysis. From December 2014 to April 2016, the authors assessed 14,697 TTEs for appropriateness, of which 99% were classifiable using the 2011 AUC. The mean proportion of rA TTEs was significantly lower in the intervention versus the control group (8.8% vs. 10.1%; odds ratio [OR]: 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.57 to 0.99; p = 0.039). In physicians who ordered, on average, at least 1 TTE per month, there was a significantly lower proportion of rA TTEs in the intervention versus the control group (8.6% vs. 11.1%; OR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.57 to 0.99; p = 0.047). There was no difference in the TTE ordering volume between the intervention and control groups (mean 77.7 ± 89.3 vs. 85.4 ± 111.4; p = 0.83). Conclusions An educational intervention reduced the number of rA TTEs ordered by attending physicians in a variety of ambulatory care environments. This may prove to be an effective strategy to improve the use of imaging. (A Multi-Centered Feedback and Education Intervention Designed to Reduce Inappropriate Transthoracic Echocardiograms [Echo WISELY]; NCT02038101)




Bhatia, R. S., Ivers, N. M., Yin, X. C., Myers, D., Nesbitt, G. C., Edwards, J., … Weiner, R. B. (2017). Improving the Appropriate Use of Transthoracic Echocardiography: The Echo WISELY Trial. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 70(9), 1135–1144.

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