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Management and Diagnostic Imaging

What do you think of when you hear the word management? Some people think about individuals with a name tag in some sort of retail setting. Management pretty much applies to every endeavor in life. It doesn’t matter what the field, management, effective management, is a necessary key for success. Management is key in the healthcare field because it’s through effective management that everyone from practitioners, to technicians, to administrators can properly and effectively help the patient. So, does management apply to diagnostic imaging?  Yes, there is a huge need for proper management in diagnostic imaging.

A big management concern is cost, how do you manage cost in imaging procedures? While cost varies from procedure to procedure, there is also a variance in cost from hospital to hospital. Quality is not necessarily a concern or sacrifice depending on location. A big part of management is being able to control the misuse of imaging procedures. Misuse is ordering procedures such as MRIs, and CT Scans when they are not really necessary.

Various health plans have begun trying to more effectively manage their radiology benefits by looking into quality management among other factors. Some of the questions ask surround the necessity of a procedure. There has been a greater emphasis placed on taking a clinically methodical approach to diagnosis. The problem is that sometimes physicians will rely too heavily on diagnostic imaging. Getting a thorough explanation of why a procedure is necessary may seem time consuming but ultimately it helps educate the patient, save the patient an unnecessary procedure, and also help create a stronger diagnosis based on a more thorough examination that establishes all symptoms ahead of time.

Managing use of diagnostic imaging is something that has been attributed to physician responsibility by some critics. In an article on Don Ryan, CEO of CareCore National, was quoted as saying “The truth of the matter is that if physicians practiced in a very disciplined way, took their time, considered all the aspects, and didn’t succumb to the pressures I described, we wouldn’t be in business. Every time a call came in it would get approved, and in about 6 months the healthcare companies would throw out all the RBMs.”  This type of statement reflects two things, a disconnect between providers and physicians and an obvious debate over effective diagnostic practices.

Radiology Benefit Management (RBM) can aid in changing a considered misuse but it does not guarantee that misuse will not fully change. Limiting the number of procedures doesn’t mean that a procedure that’s not fully necessary will not be ordered. This does bring about hope that all portions of healthcare may understand the benefit in partnering and discussing better management methods. The ultimate hope here is that through effective management the patient will win out, especially if dealing with complex conditions.

If you have any questions about diagnostic imaging equipment, or procedures, please feel free to call us at any time. We look forward to answering any questions that you may have.

Bobby Serros



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