This is an update to my earlier post discussing how the early detection of lung cancer via low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) has been shown to be effective enough in certain populations to warrant a screening program, but that coverage of such a program under Medicare was the subject of some debate.
CMS (Preliminary) Decision
The big news, of course, is that in mid-November CMS made a proposed Decision Memo indicating that Medicare would, indeed, cover lung cancer screening.
The final ruling from CMS is expected in February 2015 and could include some further refinements to the program currently outlined (more on that below).
The pressure on hospitals continues to build as CMS payments decrease, special payments like tax breaks and incentive funding expire, and utilization declines. To survive, many large hospitals have merged with smaller ones in an effort to maintain operating profits through asset consolidation. Other hospitals are expanding vertically, purchasing ambulatory care facilities, home care agencies, and free-standing dialysis clinics. Some are doing both.
In the midst of all this change, plus repeated cost-reduction directives, medical imaging executives are seeking guidance. Specifically, they’re asking: What is the role of imaging in a consolidated environment and/or one that involves care across multiple settings?
What video games were your first favorites? Were they old school—Pong, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong? Those examples are a far cry from today’s complex, realistic video games.
As games have become more sophisticated, concepts from gaming have seeped into other areas that are utilitarian, beneficial and have real-world applications. Game-inspired processes can encourage people to complete certain tasks and change behavior. The gamification trend is even entering medicine as a tool to help encourage practitioners’ best practices and processes such as peer review. How can healthcare organizations utilize the benefits of gamification to help improve radiology workflow and potentially improve patient care?
A recent article about the high rate of inappropriate imaging for patients who have headaches and are concerned about internal pathologic conditions caused a stir. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that around $1 billion each year is spent on neuroimaging for headaches, even though it’s not recommended per guidelines set by physician groups, including the American College of Radiology and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Studies like these raise a larger issue about talking to physicians about reducing unnecessary costs. Being a thorough, compassionate practitioner doesn’t have to include non-recommended testing.
You have a working disaster recovery plan for your diagnostic imaging department that you revisit often, don’t you? An informal poll taking during a recent McKesson Enterprise Medical Imaging webinar showed that four out of five respondents did have a DR plan that included radiology and cardiology systems. So that’s a great start.
But does the plan cover what it needs to cover? Keep in mind these five issues as you develop a disaster recovery plan for the first time or revisit an existing plan.
Game of Thrones® fans are widely anticipating the start of the series’ fourth season. Despite the intrigue, back stabbing, and the fact that the bad guys seem to keep winning, there are five ways that enterprise medical imaging is like this hit series — minus the armor, sword fighting and torment .
Technological advances aim to make our lives easier, but sometimes our main applications of technology as healthcare professionals – like filing, storing, and documenting data – seem to get more complicated each passing year. At work, medical providers certainly face challenging amounts of documentation that impede healthcare workflow—or should we say overflow?
At this year’s ACC.14, we’ll be talking about the challenges and strategies around managing healthcare workflow . We know it’s a concern.
Does Your Test Follow Medical Imaging Appropriateness Criteria?
Advancements in medical imaging systems make it possible for doctors to see things from different perspectives and with greater clarity. These medical imaging solutions can provide early and more accurate diagnoses. But is the medical imaging scan appropriate and necessary?
In the early 1990s, the AmericanCollege of Radiology (ACR) recognized the need to define national guidelines for appropriate use of medical imaging software and technologies. During testimony before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee in 1993, K.K. Wallace, MD (former chair of ACR Board of Chancellors) stated that the ACR was ready to create guidelines for radiology to eliminate inappropriate utilization of radiologic services. An ACR Task Force on Appropriateness Criteria soon created guidelines that became known as ACR Appropriateness Criteria® (ACR AC).
Enterprise medical imaging is being incorporated into more healthcare organizations which opens the door for healthcare IT professionals to play a strategic role in the enterprise medical imaging process. Smart players will take care to avoid a few pitfalls, according to Paul J. Chang, MD, vice chairman of radiology informatics at University of Chicago School of Medicine.
Enterprise medical imaging management is multifaceted, yet corporate IT departments want to simplify the process, Chang explained during an educational session at the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) 2013 meeting. Warning attendees against oversimplification, he then outlined tactics for integrating enterprise medical imaging into the archive. His commentary was reported on recently in Health Imaging.
Demonstrating value in medical imaging was the topic of a recent Master’s of Radiology panel discussion as reported in FierceMedicalImaging. One radiologist argued that if radiologists just focused on providing clinical excellence and service to patients and referring clinicians, then the value proposition would become obvious.
David Larson, Department of Radiology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, believes that understanding and improving the value provided to both patients and referring physicians is paramount, whether or not the “value” matches reimbursement levels.