06 December 2013

New online learning activity assists GPs refer patients for MRI

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is proud to launch its Clinical guidance for MRI referral online learning activity designed to assist GPs appropriately refer patients for MRIs.

The online learning activity is accessible via the RACGP’s gplearning platform and has been designed to complement the recently released RACGP Clinical guidance for MRI referral (the guidance).

Both the guidance and education activity have been developed to support GPs decision making under the Government’s new Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) – supported referrals for MRI requested by GPs that came into effect 1 November, 2013. GPs are now able to refer patients 16 years and over for Medicare supported MRIs of the head, spine and knee regions for specific clinical indications.

Dr Liz Marles, RACGP President, said while the new MBS items allow GPs to provide more appropriate and comprehensive care for their patients, GPs should be cautious in the decision to use MRI.

“It is important that a patient’s clinical history and physical examination are considered in advising patients about appropriate imaging.

“The online learning activity and the guidance focus on equipping GPs with the appropriate knowledge to employ MRI in addition to patient management processes, not as a first-line diagnostic tool,” said Dr Marles.

The online learning activity provides GPs with patient scenarios that reflect the clinical indications for MRI referral under the new MBS arrangements. Participants will be required to undertake appropriate patient history and perform examinations to determine if referral for MRI is appropriate.

Following completion of the online learning activity, participants should be able to:

  • Explain when the use of MRI is appropriate in the patient management process, in the context of the new MBS arrangements
  • List the benefits, limitations and risks of MRI in the clinical context
  • Discuss the likelihood of incidental findings and the associated potential impact on patient outcomes.

The online learning activity is accredited for three Category 2 points in the 2011–13 Quality Improvement and Continuing Professional Development (QI&CPD) triennium.

The guidance and summary sheets for each MBS supported clinical indication are accessible on the RACGP website in an interactive HTML version.

The development of the online learning activity and the guidance has been made possible through funding by the Department of Health (DoH).

Media enquiries

Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP can contact:

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor