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September 2010
In This Issue...
Worth Repeating...

“I’m not saying ‘Don’t do the test,’ I’m just saying ‘Don’t prescribe these tests willy-nilly like you would an ultrasound exam.’”

— R. Edward Hendrick, PhD, as quoted in The New York Times article “Radiation, Risks Are Focus of Breast Screening Studies”

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Editor’s E-Note

Physicians will see pay-for-performance programs increasingly influence how they are paid. It will happen slowly over the next decade, but when healthcare reform gets around to addressing cost, physician payment will change to better align the incentives of physicians, insurers, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations. It will be difficult for the U.S. healthcare system to truly tackle costs, but pay-for-performance programs can help achieve the closely related objective of getting better value for healthcare expenditures. This issue’s E-News Exclusive discusses one such radiology pay-for-performance study.

— Jim Knaub, editor
E-News Exclusive

Study: Pay-for-Performance Programs Improve Radiology Report Turnaround Times

A pay-for-performance program implemented at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School appeared to have a marked effect on expediting final radiology report turnaround times, according to a study in the September issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Increasingly used both by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and by third-party payers, pay for performance attempts to address variation in quality and performance through the use of pay-for-performance programs. Individuals or organizations entering such agreements are essentially compensated through one of two mechanisms: a straight bonus that rewards providers with additional payments for achieving stipulated performance targets or the placement of a percentage of contracted provider revenue that is directly at risk if these targets are not met.

Full Story »

Currently in Radiology Today

Radiologists & Technologists — Building Effective Work Relationships
Working together well benefits everyone, especially patients. Imaging veterans discuss ways they promote a positive work environment in their facilities. Read more »

Tracking Lead
A Minnesota medical center developed its own simple bar-code scanner and spreadsheet system that efficiently tracks more than 500 protective garments in the facility. Read more »

Yttrium-90 Radioembolization
This new path in liver cancer treatment is becoming more widely traveled. Its growth is tied to its effectiveness and perhaps better communication among the interventional radiologists, oncologists, and nuclear medicine physicians involved. Read more »

Other Imaging News

Pair of Studies Weigh Radiation, Risks in Breast Screening Studies
As detailed in this New York Times article, a pair of studies published in the journal Radiology highlight radiation exposure and risks for patients undergoing certain breast screening exams.

Debate Over Doctors’ Role in Ordering Imaging Exams
This USA Today article discusses the debate about whether doctors should be permitted to order advanced diagnostic imaging tests such as MRIs, CT scans, or PET scans.

So You Think a Sprouting Pea in the Lung Is Strange?
Read about some of the more peculiar objects physicians have found in patients’ lungs in this USA Today article.

More Good News for Radiology Today Readers!

Coming this October to your inbox, our latest special digital supplement, “Preparing Radiology for ICD-10”!

Since hospitals and radiology practices are all affected by these changes, administrators and managers from across the radiology spectrum will benefit from this special report we’re working on with the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).

This special digital supplement is a resource that will provide decision makers and planners with radiology-specific details on each of the 16 steps the AAPC has prepared on how facilities should organize, plan, and implement key elements of a ICD-10 rollout, such as communications, system design, training, outcomes measurement, and compliance.

All subscribers will receive an e-mail alert when “Preparing Radiology for ICD-10” has been posted on our website.

Visit to read the digital edition of any 2010 issue.

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