RSNA 2016: Driving value through imaging

Radiologists have had an enormous impact on the field of medicine over the last 30 years. In order to maintain that influence, radiologist must focus on providing value-based care, according to Vivian Lee, MD, PhD, MBA, radiologist and dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine.

During her presentation, “Health Care Transformation: Driving Value Through Imaging,” at Monday’s RSNA conference in Chicago, Lee spoke of the importance of understanding the total cost of providing care from an institutional perspective, not just as an individual radiologist.

“Radiologists must know the cost of running a business,” Less said. “The goal is to create the healthiest population at the lowest possible cost.”

Given the amount of different physicians a patient comes into contact with during a typical hospital stay, it is vital for radiologists to perform their jobs as efficiently and effectively as possible to keep total costs down.

“Clarity, utility and timeliness are key,” Lee said.

Labor accounts for 80 percent of the cost of a CT scan, according to Lee. Radiologists need to understand where cost is incurred and work to avoid unnecessary steps. Imaging costs are driven by cost of interpretation, personnel, equipment and materials. In order to reduce the impact of these factors, radiologists must strive for earlier diagnosis, reducing missed diagnosis and managing patients in a more timely manner.

“Value is defined as providing the highest quality and service at the lowest possible cost,” Lee said. “Diagnostic errors cost more than treatment mistakes, so if our technology can make the right diagnosis the first time, everyone saves in the long run.”

Lee sited a total joint replacement study that showed when quality of care goes up, the cost of treatment drops significantly.