Scanning the evidence for imaging in RTi: NPS webinar

4 May 2012

Next week NPS will host its inaugural webinar for GPs looking at medical imaging in respiratory tract infections (RTIs). Forming part of the NPS campaign on antibiotic resistance, the webinar on 10 May enables GPs to engage with imaging experts in real-time and gain insights into when imaging is appropriate for RTIs.

NPS CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes, says this exciting new initiative will widen the organisation’s reach to rural and remote areas where GPs often lack access to resources and the opportunity to network with their peers.

“GPs are leading increasingly busy lives and many find it difficult to travel to seminars and conferences. Webinars are a great solution to this problem, providing GPs with the convenience of learning at a time and place which suits their needs.”

Inappropriate use of imaging tests to diagnose defined RTIs is on the rise.

“There is a limited role for medical imaging in the diagnosis of RTIs outside of pneumonia, however the number of tests continue to rise. The result of this is a large number of needless scans, exposing patients to unnecessary ionising radiation and potentially risking their future health.

“Insufficient national GP guidelines about imaging may be contributing to the rise in inappropriate testing. Taking part in activities like the NPS webinar will help GPs make better decisions when it comes to ordering imaging tests for RTIs.”

Dr Weekes says there are a number of factors GPs need to consider when it comes to imaging in RTIs.

“When considering a test’s usefulness in the diagnosis and management of an RTI, GPs should think about whether the potential benefits of the test are likely to outweigh the risks and whether the results will contribute in a meaningful way to the management decision. If a scan is indicated then the benefits and risks should be explained to the patient and any concerns should be addressed.”

Another significant contributor to inappropriate testing, and one that is often less discussed, is patient pressure.

“In the interest of preserving the doctor-patient relationship and the desire to allay patient fears of a more serious diagnosis, some GPs feel pressure to order imaging tests despite there being no evidence base to do so,” says Dr Weekes.

“The NPS webinar will give GPs the opportunity to raise these difficult patient situations with imaging experts, clarify when medical imaging should be ordered for an RTI and discuss which tests are most appropriate.”

Expert panelists for the webinar include radiologist Dr Greg Briggs, respiratory physician Associate Professor Graeme Maguire, and GP Dr James Best. Dr Philippa Binns, NPS Clinical Adviser, will convene the webinar.

By participating GPs can earn 2 (category 2) RACGP QI&CPD Points and/or 2 ACRRM PRPD Points + 2 PRPD Radiology MOPS Points for the 2011–2013 triennium.

To register for this free webinar, which will be held 10 May 2012, visit Two sessions are available – 1.30-2.30pm and 6-7pm.


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests.We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.