From Barcelona with love


Hospital Clinic Barcelona was the first to pilot the digital version of the European Society of Radiology’s imaging referral guidelines that are now being evaluated in many other places all over Europe. Insights joined a visit of this HIMSS EMRAM Stage 6 hospital in the heart of Barcelona to find out how it became, once more, a trailblazer for the rest of Europe.

Visiting Hospital Clinic Barcelona as a non-Spanish citizen feels a bit strange. It is so close to the famous Rambla de Catalunya, Passeig de Gràcia, and various Gaudi buildings that it could easily be part of an inner-city sightseeing tour. In fact, foreign-looking people with cameras around their necks are passing by now and then. They have a different agenda though. They very likely don’t know that what is inside the massive building covering two blocks in between Carrer de Casanova and Carrer del Villarroel would indeed justify being included in sightseeing tours. The latest ‘first in Europe’ of Hospital Clinic is the piloting of the ESR iGuide tool. This is the digital version of the European Society of Radiology’s (ESR) imaging referral guidelines, first published two years ago.

A little background: According to the EU Directive EURATOM 2013/59, all EU Member States will have to provide guidelines for doctors that request radiological imaging by February 2018. These guidelines could, in principle, be paper-based. But this doesn’t make a lot of sense. A digital version would be far more convenient, and it would allow the providers of electronic medical records to implement the guidelines into their systems and thus provide decision-support directly at the point of care. In the US, such digital imaging referral guidelines exist already. They are provided by the American College of Radiology and called ACR Select. For its ESR iGuide, the Europeans have adapted the US guidelines, and the ESR has agreed with the ACR to work together jointly on future updates.

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