Quality and Affordability: It’s Not Either/Or

Nicola_GThis post was contributed by Gregory N. Nicola, MD, FACR, vice chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Economics.

The Quality Payment Program places importance on improving quality and also lowering cost. While quality and cost are related, it is possible to improve one and not necessarily the other. The good news is that radiology can ultimately help do both.

We have to start stressing to the radiology community that quality is difficult to measure. We have decent — and are working on better — quality measures, but they may not necessarily be understood by our referring provider colleagues.

The one thing that is understood, though, is cost. As a specialty, we need to do all that is realistic to control those costs. This may include participating in R-SCAN, encouraging clinical decision support (CDS) use to ensure studies are appropriate, or adopting standardized templates and recommendations to reduce variability of follow up on incidental findings. Hopefully, artificial intelligence (AI) application will also further advance our ability to reduce unnecessary care and variance.

Ultimately, one of our primary values to our patients is to prevent unnecessary utilization of medicine and potentially of advanced imaging. In addition to all the quality aspects of participating in MIPS, radiologists can do more to help control costs and improve quality of care.

  • What are some ways you are raising quality and controlling costs in your practice?

Please provide your thoughts the comments section below or on the Engage discussion board (login required).




One thought on “Quality and Affordability: It’s Not Either/Or

  1. I completely agree. Radiologists should exercise responsibility in helping mitigate health care costs. I routinely communicate with referrers guiding them on the best imaging study to answer their clinical question at a reasonable cost. No need to get an MRI where US may suffice. I think we could also do better at being more specific and less sensitive in mammography likely resulting in the USPSTF recommendations in 2009. https://ronaldswanger.wordpress.com/2018/07/01/mammogram-when-to-start-and-when-to-stop/

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