Altarum Institute wins program to reduce unnecessary medical imaging in MichiganJuly 2, 2012 | Industry News Release
Altarum and its partners United Physicians (a physician organization of independent doctors practicing in Southeast Michigan) and the Detroit Medical Center Physician Hospital Organization will work to increase adherence to guidelines developed by the American College of Radiology that indicate when imaging tests are appropriate. The program will also enhance clinician awareness of previous imaging studies that might preclude the need for new tests, and improve the patient population’s understanding of the reasons why imaging studies may not be appropriate in certain cases. The ultimate goal is a systematic approach to reducing unnecessary medical imaging.
While imaging studies such as MRIs and CT scans are invaluable to the practice of medicine, there is concern that inappropriate use of these technologies adds unnecessary costs and risks to patient care. According to Altarum Institute Vice President Dan Armijo, this effort in Southeast Michigan will give physicians the tools they need to better understand when imaging studies are truly needed. “We demand a lot of our physicians. We expect them to stay abreast of rapidly-evolving medical evidence and depend on them to address misinformation patients have obtained on their own. We also want them to take responsibility for the health of populations whose behaviors are outside of their control and to run their practices as efficient businesses. In essence, this project is about empowering physicians to provide better care, by making it a little easier to decide when to order an imaging study.”
The three-year project will embed clinical guidelines in the image ordering process, leverage health information exchange capabilities to increase awareness of past imaging results and use patient education campaigns to offset patient-induced demand for medically unnecessary imaging.
“We are confident, while working with Altarum, the DMC and the American College of Radiology, that we can reduce inappropriate imaging in our community while also protecting and raising the quality of care our patients receive,” said Dr. Michael Williams, president of United Physicians.
About Altarum Institute
Altarum Institute (www.altarum.org) integrates objective research and client-centered consulting skills to deliver comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health and health care. Altarum employs more than 400 individuals and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., with additional offices in the Washington, D.C., area; Atlanta, Ga.; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas.