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Healthcare Providers, Technology Experts Call for Use of Existing Decision Support Tools to Promote Diagnostic Imaging Appropriate Use

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 9:33am
Bio-Medicine.Org

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to Thursday's Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommendation that medical practitioners who use substantially higher levels of advanced diagnostic imaging services receive Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approval before being able to provide those services, the Imaging e-Ordering Coalition encourages Medicare officials to instead look to existing clinical decision support tools to reduce costs, increase efficiency, support appropriate use, and improve quality of care in diagnostic imaging.

"By referencing proven imaging clinical decision support systems, physicians are able to quickly and effectively recommend the most appropriate course of treatment for their patient at the point of order, rather than having to rely upon prior authorization in advance of treatment," said Liz Quam, co-founder of the Imaging e-Ordering Coalition, representing leading healthcare providers, technology companies, and diagnostic imaging vendors. "Not only is this approach more efficient for patient care delivery, its provision of immediate clinical feedback and alternative imaging suggestions based on established medical professional society appropriateness guidelines encourages informed decision-making and significantly lowers administrative costs."

MedPAC's recommendation – which targets the top 10 percent of providers who account for more than half of imaging services – was opposed by Commissioner Ronald Castellanos, M.D., who represents physician specialists on the panel. In his dissent, Castellanos noted that CMS does not have a structure in place to implement prior authorization, and that MedPAC should not institute such a policy that would be burdensome to both physicians and beneficiaries.

With the use of clinical decision support systems, once a physician requests an imaging procedure, specific clinical indicators are identified within the patie

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