Health policy and the value of imaging research

A look at three articles published in this week's issue of FierceMedicalImaging demonstrates the need for--and the value of--radiology and medical imaging research.

Use of techs to provide clinical histories results in better image interpretation

Researchers from Cincinnati Children's Hospital have demonstrated that using radiologic technologists instead of referring physicians to provide clinical histories of patients results in improved histories and leads to better image interpretation.

Lean principles help interventional radiology department reduce nurse, tech OT

The implementation of "lean" principles in the interventional radiology division at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine enabled it to streamline workflow and reduce nurse and technologist overtime, according to an article in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Proton therapy's future: Uncertainty lingers

The high cost of building and equipping a proton beam therapy facility--and whether the benefits in terms of patient outcomes is worth those costs--means the future of proton therapy remains uncertain.

Radiology ranks high as a recipient of Medicare dollars

Radiology ranked fifth among medical specialties that received the most in Medicare payments in 2012, according to Medicare doc data recently made public by CMS.

Amyloid PET scans 'latest campaign for overdiagnosis'

In a commentary published online in JAMA Internal Medicine, Susan Molchan, M.D., a private practice psychiatrist from Bethesda, Md., suggested the push to get amyloid PET scans covered by Medicare is part of the "the latest campaign for overdiagnosis."

Mammo debate: Is it time to push the reset button?

Two opinion papers published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine argue that it's time to start thinking differently about the issues associated with breast cancer and mammography screening, particularly with each side of the breast screening debate bringing up the same arguments based on data from old trials.

H.R. 4302: Duct tape, delays and decision support

By Matt Hawkins, M.D.


A permanent fix to the sustainable growth rate formula eluded Congress again--stunning, I know. Another year of SGR duct tape. And ICD-10 was laughably delayed for yet another year. (How many ICD-11 jokes have you heard over the last couple of weeks?)  This kind of partisan-driven politicking escalates the apathy that many physicians already have for Washington. But maybe that's their objective.

SGR fix good for imaging, but a bad way to make policy

While the passage of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act--which includes a 12-month Sustainable Growth Rate patch and a delay in the implementation of ICD-10--appears to be a good news/bad news proposition for many healthcare organizations, the imaging community is giving it full its full support. While it's easy to see why, that doesn't mean it's a good way to make public policy.

Failure to meet new dose reduction standards could jeopardize Medicare dollars

A provision of the sustainable growth rate patch legislation will penalize radiology professionals using CT equipment that doesn't comply with new dose management standards.

Brain imaging testimony in criminal cases creates controversy

The PET Brain Imaging Center at the University of California, Irvine--and in particular, staff member Joseph Wu, M.D.--are receiving some unfavorable media coverage because of the way Wu is using brain imaging technology for forensic diagnoses in criminal court cases.

Post-residency, what is the best practice environment for a radiologist?

While in the past the vast majority of radiologists were in private practice, that has changed over the last 10 years or so. Today, approximately half of all radiologists still belong to private practices, while the remainder are taking advantage of a variety of practice options.

Handheld ultrasound: A replacement for the stethoscope?

Is the stethoscope going the way of the dodo--to be replaced by handheld ultrasound? In a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Scott D. Solomon, M.D., and Fidencio Saldana, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, explore the possibilities.

Review: Mammo benefits may be overstated

A review of 50-plus years of literature on the benefits and risks of mammography has found that while screening mammograms may reduce breast cancer mortality, the benefits of mammography are less--and the potential harms greater--than had once been expected.

Radiology residents and moonlighting: How to navigate unsteady waters

A couple of very recent studies demonstrate the continuing challenges facing residents in medical imaging-related programs--and by extension, the programs themselves. As we have seen, radiology residents have been increasingly worried about issues like a stagnant job market--a situation that is probably exacerbated by concerns about their financial security.

Colonoscopy misses 6% of colon cancers

Only 6 percent of colorectal cancers diagnosed within three to five years received a clean colonoscopy report, according to a study out of the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.

CMS wants evidence before deciding on coverage for lung cancer screening

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published the topics it expects to be discussed during the April 30 Medicare Evidence Development Coverage Advisory Committee meeting looking at whether low-dose CT lung cancer screening should be covered by Medicare.

Moonlighting: Can imaging residents do it all?

There has been a limited amount of research on radiology resident moonlighting and the effect it has both on radiology residents and their training programs. Consequently, according to an article in the April issue of Academic Radiology, not only is more investigation into the issue needed, but it may also be necessary to closely monitor moonlighting in order to assess its impact.

Imaging-based guidance system could boost surgical accuracy

Johns Hopkins University researchers have developed a new imaging-based guidance system that could make minimally invasive surgery more accurate and streamlined.

New prostate radiotherapy treatment promises better outcomes, reduced side effects

British hospitals are testing a new radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer that researchers believe can improve outcomes without producing any of the side effects typically associated with treating the prostate.