Recently, well-known bioethicist Arthur Kaplan and his fellow researcher, radiologist Dr. Stella Kang, raised an important question: Does the growing tendency to offer more and more medical tests inadvertently harm some patients?
“How can radiologists fulfill the ethical obligation to support patient interests when very low-risk incidental findings concern patients for different reasons and lead to excessive resource utilization?” wrote Kang, Kaplan and other researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
I was watching a TEDMED talk the other day…you know, the short video presentations where the speaker tells a story? This particular talk was about cleaning water that was polluted, as told by Peter Janicki. During the video, pictures of shanty towns littered with trash were situated near the water sources. What does cleaning water have to do with helping our clients and their members, or patients, or your husband or mother, get better treatment for their lower back pain? Sit tight. I will get to that.
For more than seven years, eviCore has been managing high-cost musculoskeletal procedures in the form of hi-tech imaging, pain procedures, and spinal surgeries related to chronic and sometimes debilitating low back pain. We do this well and it is a good thing that we do. About 20% of a given commercial health plan’s member population have a musculoskeletal procedure annually. The cost of those members participating in musculoskeletal procedures is approximately 20% of the commercial health plan’s total healthcare costs. Moreover, one member in eight will miss work due to painful musculoskeletal issues, resulting in decreased productivity.