Requiring Doctors to Justify Scans Reduces Medical Waste

side note: An innovative approach to lowering costs involves using computers to challenge scan orders that aren’t likely to help diagnose patients. Usually, these orders are entered by support staff, but the computer system at Massachusetts General Hospital requires a physician justification if the computer analysis shows that the scan is unlikely to help diagnose the patient.

So far, the system has helped reduce the practice of defensive medicine, with the rate of low-scoring scans going from 5.4% to 1.9%. Systems like this could have a great impact on the practice of medicine through lowering the rate of medical malpractice lawsuits. By helping to justify the choices a physician makes, these computer systems could make it harder for plaintiffs to file frivolous lawsuits. With medmal insurance rates continuing to go up for many states and specialties, it’s important for doctors to consider how implementing technology can help them better care for patients, save money, and avoid physician liability complaints.

By Scott Henley, NPR News
Via Kaiser Health News

A funny thing happens when a computer challenges orders for medical scans that aren’t likely to help diagnose patients: Doctors often drop the test requests.

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