Imaging looms large as Minnesota mulls the high cost of low-value care

The Minnesota Department of Health has determined that, in 2014, North Star Staters spent at least $55 million on procedures considered “low value” by Choosing Wisely criteria—and some 92,000 of those procedures were imaging exams.

Reporting on the findings, MinnPost.com notes that the actual dollar tally is certainly much higher than $55K, since the department only looked at 18 low-value services out of the 450-plus that Choosing Wisely has flagged.

The online outlet points out that many unnecessary imaging procedures also carry the risk of potential harms such as radiation exposure, anxiety over ambiguous results and the undergoing of additional low-value tests and procedures.

The MDH research identifies “a significant area of wasted resources and unnecessary exposure to potential patient harm,” Minnesota’s health commissioner, Ed Ehlinger, MD, says in prepared remarks published in the MinnPost article. “Providers and patients need to join together to avoid these tests that add needless expense to our overly expensive health care system.”

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