The Canadian C-Spine Rule aims to provide emergency room physicians with better and more efficient protocols for assessing neck injuries. The Canadian C-Spine Rule will greatly reduce the taking of unnecessary and time-consuming X-rays, while ensuring that neck injuries are accurately diagnosed. This means lesser wait times for others waiting for X-rays, better patient flow through emergency rooms, and lower healthcare costs.
The Issues around X-rays
Every year in Canada and the United States, over 13 million people are treated for possible traumatic neck injuries.
MRIs, CT scans, and standard X-rays all take time. The more X-rays prescribed, the more crowded waiting lists get, and the longer it can take to commence treatment because of the time needed to wait for evaluation of the X-rays. Of course, the X-rays are needed to ensure that physicians can examine every possible area of damage so they "don't miss anything." The Canadian C-Spine Rule will revolutionize the way physicians look at X-rays as a diagnostic tool for neck injuries.
In a time where MRIs and CT scans are being more and more requested to help assess more and more injuries, there is a push to streamline which X-rays are actually necessary. Part of the wait time issue for these kinds of diagnostic tests in Canada is because doctors are prescribing MRIs and CT scans for things the may not really require diagnostic imaging. It is speculated that many doctors refer for diagnostic imaging scans when many of the symptoms can be diagnosed through basic physiological examination.
In the area of spinal cord injuries affecting the neck, though, it is critical that nothing be missed. Which X-rays are actually necessary for diagnosing neck injuries, and how many are actually required? Those are the questions that this study sought to answer.
The study was conducted by clinical trials in 12 hospitals across Canada. Their specific goal was to reduce the amount of X-rays and diagnostic imaging prescribed without compromising a physician's ability to effectively diagnose the presence of and extent of neck injuries.