Opportunity for GPs to reflect on head imaging referrals

In the coming weeks GPs will receive an individualised report with referral data for head MRI and CT scans. NPS MedicineWise distributes the report to 30,000 GPs as a tool to support GPs reflect on their clinical practice in line with latest evidence and best practice.

“Head imaging is often requested to investigate headaches and seizures,” says NPS MedicineWise medical adviser Dr Kate Annear.

“Headaches in the primary care setting are often benign and head imaging is not usually required unless a patient presents with a red flag.

“However, neuroimaging is indicated for most new-onset seizures with MRI being the preferred imaging modality in non-emergency situations.

“It is important to remember that head imaging can identify incidental findings which may result in patient anxiety and unnecessary follow-up investigations,” she says.

The MBS Practice Review Report lists red flags which may indicate that imaging may be required to investigate headaches. The report reflects best practice and the latest evidence in line with a Choosing Wisely recommendation from the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists: Don’t perform imaging of the brain for non-acute primary headache disorders.

The inclusion of individualised MBS head CT and MRI requests over time aims to prompt GPs to reflect on their own imaging referral practice.

“GPs have different cohorts of patients. The data included in the individualised MBS Practice Review should be considered in the context of the patients consulting each practitioner and their individual indications for investigation,” says Dr Annear.

Time spent reflecting on the data provided in the Practice Review is approved for 2 points under the RACGP CPD Program.

For more information see nps.org.au/mbs-headimaging2021.

 

Media contact

Matthew Harris and Bernadette Withers. NPS MedicineWise: (02) 8217 8623, 0419 618 365 or [email protected]