Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

Considering Appropriateness, Dose to Improve Patient Experience

Published on the Nov. 17, 2011, DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

At conferences or departmental meetings, you’ve likely noticed a recurring subject: improving patient experience. It’s a hot trend in radiology, and some in the industry believe making it a reality takes more than better imaging machines.

In the age of healthcare reform, boosting patient satisfaction with the services you provide is critical to reimbursement. Many of you have purchased open or wide-bore MRI machines with higher Tesla strength to make your claustrophobic patients more comfortable. Or maybe you’ve added a scanner just for children. But your imaging technology is only part of the fix, according to some in the industry.

Ultimately, you should question every study you’re asked to perform.

“We know in the United States that 25 to 30 percent of radiology studies are done inappropriately without a good clinical reason,” said Stephen Herman, MD, president of MedCurrent, a Los Angeles-based radiology decision support consulting firm. “Either patients are demanding studies or doctors are practicing defensive medicine. The fact is there’s overutilization, but there are ways to avoid that.”

Getting the Test Right

Many factors go into selecting the correct diagnostic test — concerns over dosage, desires for good image quality, and deliberations about the best modality. For primary care providers who aren’t privy to ongoing best-practice conversations, ordering the best test for their patient isn’t always easy.

This is where a clinical decision support system (CDS) can play a role.

If a referring physician orders the wrong diagnostic test based on a patient’s history and current condition, a CDS can compare the order to existing benchmark data and suggest a more appropriate study. Not only does it eliminate the need for a radiologist to conduct multiple studies, but it’s also courteous to the patient, said Herman, who’s company manufactures the OrderRight™ CDS system.

“If a physician orders the incorrect imaging scan, the patient has to take more time to come back in, pay another co-pay, and potentially deal with the inconvenience for rescheduling other activities,” he said. “Most importantly, however, having to return to have the right test done will result in an avoidable delay in patient care.”

To read the remainder of the story: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/content/article/113619/1993500

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November 18, 2011 - Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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