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Spotlight: RSNA past president on health care reform

by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor | June 20, 2013
GB: The picture is only bleak if we allow it to be so. Radiologists will need to step up as leaders in appropriate utilization of imaging. We need to reinforce our role as consultants and reduce waste in our system, supporting policies that benefit patients, even at the risk of lost revenue. Decision support systems with "hard stops" will be critical to guiding judicious selection of imaging. We will need to focus on value and quality as deliverables, rather than purely volume. We must change our high sensitivity, low specificity interpretation style to provide our fellow clinicians with "trees" instead of "hedges".

DMN: Who do you think will be the winners and losers because of health care reform?
GB: Winners will be some middle and almost all lower income workers, small businesses, the Medicaid population. Losers will be big business, high income earners. These steps should theoretically improve quality of care for the underserved and cut costs from our system, but will it work? I certainly have no crystal ball. I hope that Obamacare, which has a price tag of over $1 trillion, does not leave us in a bigger hole in 10 years.

DMN: Anything else you'd like to add?
GB: In the big picture we all know the value that imaging has brought to diagnosis. Think about how often the question/clinical dilemma is solved in the radiology department. We can equate value and quality to early diagnosis. It is our responsibility to prove that the use of effective imaging early in a patient's disease drives down cost and improves outcomes.

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