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Q&A with Dr. Michael Recht

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | February 24, 2016
Dr. Michael Recht
From the January/February 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

A major part of value-based health care is the measurement and dissemination of outcomes using comparative effectiveness research. However, there hasn’t been much research done in that area. Dr. Michael Recht, chair of the department of radiology at NYU Langone Medical Center, took some time to speak with HealthCare Business News about his new collaborative training program in biomedical big data and comparative effectiveness research for the field of radiology.

HCB News: Can you explain what comparative effectiveness research (CER) is?
Dr. Michael Recht:
What we are really doing is looking to demonstrate the value of imaging — when we should do imaging and what imaging is appropriate. Rather than doing it anecdotally, we need to do statistically powerful studies to find out which imaging test makes a difference in the outcomes of patients.

We’re trying to look at the comparative effectiveness of different treatment modalities. For example, if someone comes into the emergency room and you think they may have appendicitis, do you want to do any imaging at all? If you want to do imaging, is the right imaging ultrasound, CT or MR? You really decide, not anecdotally or by individual experience, but with a large study with statistical power to decide what is the appropriate way to work-up that patient — which has the most positive impact on the outcome of the patient as well as being cost effective?

HCB News: Why is CER training only available to a very small subset of medical imagers?
It’s not part of the traditional curriculum for radiology residents and imagers. It’s expensive and it requires a lot of training and a lot of people to teach you. For any individual program to do that, it would be incredibly difficult. The best that an individual residency could do is to give a few introductory lectures, but you’re not going to get intense training. There are some master’s programs or more intense courses, but they tend to be very expensive.

Here at NYU we have a master’s program that a few of our faculty have attended, but it’s an expensive program and most radiology programs really don’t have the resources to do that. We’re also lucky that NYU has such a great program — we have a number of people in the medical school who really work on comparative effectiveness. But many programs don’t have that resource at their medical schools, so it would mean going someplace else to do the program.

What we decided was that in order to train imagers so that they can actually do comparative effectiveness research on imaging, we would try to develop a collaborative course that would be available to all imagers. Although we are starting with radiology, we really plan on expanding this to other imagers as well, such as cardiologists. It’s important not just for the imaging that is now within a radiology department, but with any type of imaging.

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