‘The history of medical imaging has had its tradeoffs’—and so will its future

In the heavily fee-for-service payment environment of years past, many care decisions were driven by the ready availability of expensive technologies. Imaging advances stood among the most conspicuous precipitators of resource consumption. That world is fading fast, and for good reason, according to the authors of a paper published online Aug. 17 in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Lead author Courtland Keteyian, MD, MPH, of Henry Ford Allegiance Health and colleagues explain how, going forward into the value-based care era, organizations will be forced to forgo the old ways and, instead, adopt technology that “makes better use of existing information.”

In introducing their material, they encourage their readers to consider the evolution of medical imaging:

“The focus of an entire era of diagnostic technologies has been to create more and better images. Although successful in many respects, the history of medical imaging has had its tradeoffs as well. Additional ionizing radiation from CT scans led to measurable increases in the incidence of various cancers, and false positive results necessitated subsequent therapies, often with unclear benefits for patients. Furthermore, the increasingly sophisticated and more abundant scanning techniques have added costs to the healthcare system.”

The authors hold that the new era calls for smartly synthesizing information from medical images, medical records, physiological monitoring and other sources in order to ensure more appropriate clinical decision-making.

They also describe their work developing predictive algorithms that have the potential to “support clinical decisions and deliver significant value.”

The paper is available in full for free. Click here to give it a read.