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Healthcare Economics & Policy

 

The global ultrasound market is poised for a strong 2018 due in part to the expanded use of the imaging modality across medical specialties, along with projected growth in most major markets. Findings were published by Signify Research, an independent supplier of market intelligence to the global healthcare technology industry.

CMS announced a change in its payment policy to make it easier for patients with implantable cardiac devices to receive reimbursement for MRI scans.

Brent Shafer, previously CEO of Philips North America, has been named Cerner's new chief executive and chairman effective Feb. 1.

Today, the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA) sent a letter to members of Congress, urging them to repeal the medical device tax prior to Jan. 29, the date medical device companies are required to resume payments after a two-year suspension.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially announced the availability of newly drafted guidelines that ease the process of regulating medical devices while maintaining the statutory requirements for safety clearance, according to a news release.

 

Recent Headlines

Three studies, one call for imaging ‘more wisely’

The time has come for patient-facing physicians to collaborate more closely with radiologists in deciding whether or not to image. And, going forward, the decision must incorporate patients’ values about “the pressing need to perform imaging tests more wisely.”

Social media’s ‘like’ effect increases clout of popular RSNA education exhibits

The more “likes” viewers give digital RSNA electronic education exhibits (EEEs), the more likely those EEEs are to win RSNA awards and/or be chosen to run in RSNA’s medical-education journal RadioGraphics.

Standardized-patient training is no cure for unnecessary image ordering

Primary care residents learning to better handle iffy patient requests by using standardized patients (SPs)—i.e., instructors portraying patients for training purposes—are more satisfied with the resulting interventions. However, they do no better at ordering fewer exams deemed to be of low value by Choosing Wisely guidelines.

Financial incentives do not increase breast cancer screening rates

Providing women with financial incentives to undergo breast cancer screening did not lead to significantly more of them receiving a mammogram, according to a randomized, controlled trial. The women all had private insurance through the Tufts health plan in Massachusetts.

Get off the sidelines: A radiologist’s guide to surviving payment reform

Value-based payments in radiology are here, and they are evolving fast. Nobody knows how they will morph, stretch, bend or otherwise play out in practice over the coming weeks, months and years. But there’s no more time to sit around waiting to find out before taking steps to adjust and prepare.

Radiologists losing share of overall physician workforce

The head count of radiology trainees in the U.S. blossomed 84.2 percent between 1997 and 2011, but the workforce expansion isn’t as heartening for the specialty as it initially sounds.

Study suggests possible LDCT screening benefit for 20- to 29-pack-year smokers

Should 20- to 29-pack-year smokers be screened for lung cancer via low-dose CT just like those with 30-plus pack-years? 

Valuing outcome metrics

Radiology should be shouting from the rooftops about the value they provide in order to avoid being commoditized. Despite this, the specialty lags behind in terms of measuring outcome-based quality metrics.

Translating ‘Radiology-speak’

My 85-year-old mother volunteers as an intake person at a free clinic, but her high school Spanish is long gone. This week, she found herself on duty without an interpreter and was amazed when a much younger volunteer pulled her smart phone from her pocket, spoke a question into it, and out came the question in Spanish.  The app performed the inverse function for the Spanish-speaking gentleman, and voilà, the registration ensued.

Fewer than 10% of people in the U.S. are uninsured

During the first quarter of 2015, seven million more people had health insurance compared with the same time period last year, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.

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