Value-based care in action: Radiologists help high-risk individuals receive care they need

Before artificial intelligence entered the picture, the biggest topic in radiology was the industry’s ongoing shift from volume-based care to value-based care. And from time to time, I’ll notice a particular story, statement or study that reminds me of that shift—an example of radiologists going that extra mile to make a difference in the lives of their patients—and think, “now that is what people had in mind when they talked about demonstrating real value.”

Take, for instance, a recent analysis published in the American Journal of Roentgenology. Author Christopher Lee, MD, department of radiology at Keck Hospital of USC in Los Angeles, shared his own experience developing and implementing a lung cancer screening program in Los Angeles County, sharing numerous examples of how his team was able to successfully recruit high-risk individuals. All of Lee’s suggestions were fascinating, but one recruitment method really stood out to me: his team’s plan to assist patients with transportation to and from their facility.

Because the medical center in question was more than 15 miles from south Los Angeles, where many of the high-risk individuals were located, Lee and his colleagues arranged for patients to receive complimentary Uber rides.

“Our screening coordinator arranges the Uber and meets the patient at the curbside when the car arrives,” Lee wrote. “To date, more than 90 percent of our patients have taken advantage of the Uber service; many have expressed that this free door-to-door service is one of the nicest perks of the program.”

Paying Uber drivers to take patients back and forth from underserved communities, trips that average 30 to 45 minutes each way, is no small investment. But as Lee emphasized in his analysis, such a program is absolutely worth every penny.

“Though transportation assistance in the form of Uber rides may impose a financial burden on institutions, we strongly believe that this additional service removed one of the major barriers to community-based screening, particularly for our underserved patients,” Lee wrote.

I read radiology journals on a regular basis, and have been for years now, and it’s hard to think of a better example of radiologists providing high-value care.

With so much chaos going on in the world right now, reading Lee’s account of what he and his colleagues are doing for high-risk individuals was a refreshing way to begin 2018. I look forward to reading more examples of the industry’s continued shift from volume to value in the months ahead.