November 12, 2013 — Virtual Radiologic (vRad), a radiology practice, announced the release of its radiology patient care (RPC) Indices, the first set of findings-based national and peer group radiology benchmarking metrics. The RPC Indices are derived from vRad’s clinical database of more than 22 million imaging studies from over 2,000 facilities in all 50 states. vRad’s database is a national projection of the U.S. market; the RPC Indices are aggregated from radiology studies normalized on key variables including patient age, gender, body region, geography, hospital and IDN type, bed size, modality, reasons for study order, and findings status.
The RPC Indices are a “living library” of statistically significant metrics that provide hospitals, radiology groups and health systems with objective comparisons of their use of imaging to national averages and relevant peer groups. vRad is making these indices available for free and unrestricted use. The first set of interactive RPC Indices can be found on the practice’s website.
“Analytics are no longer an option; they are a requirement,” said Ben Strong, M.D., chief medical officer, vRad. “In value-based healthcare, you won’t get paid for quality if you can’t prove it. And you can’t prove it if you don’t measure it. Because of our scale, vRad had to adapt sooner than most radiology practices. We spent the last two years creating data (informatics) tools because existing solutions in the marketplace did not provide the insight we needed to make better decisions for our patients and our practice. RPC Indices are among the new tools we’re using to decrease costs while positively impacting the quality of our patient care.”
“Analytics for practice comparisons are largely subjective, and in many cases unavailable because of the challenge of comparing disparate data between healthcare facilities,” said Ingrid Lund, practice manager, Imaging Performance Partnership, The Advisory Board Company. “Using a normalized data set allows radiology groups and hospitals to objectively compare their own use of imaging. These comparisons present a potential opportunity for radiology to take control of the dialogue around quality as it moves from a fee-for-volume to fee-for-value world.”
The first RPC Indices released focus on the use and effectiveness of computed tomography (CT) imaging in the emergency department (ED) nationwide. The indices are formulated using aggregated and anonymized data from the more than 22 million imaging studies in vRad’s clinical repository. EDs play an increasingly important role in the cost of healthcare, accounting for approximately half of all U.S. hospital admissions. They also serve as advanced diagnostic centers for primary care physicians, according to a RAND Corporation study, released in May 2013, which also found that office-based physicians direct patients to EDs rather than admitting patients to hospitals themselves.
“As healthcare moves quickly towards an accountable care environment, RPC Indices will help radiology become a strategic partner to be heard from, rather than a cost center to be managed,” said Jim Burke, CEO, vRad. “vRad is making RPC Indices available for free and unrestricted use because it’s the right thing to do to elevate radiology as a valued partner. We already see examples of how RPC Indices are helping our practice and those of our partners improve operational efficiencies and the quality of care for the patient communities we collectively serve.”
vRad will be releasing additional Indices for CT use in the ED, as well as other imaging modalities (MRI and mammography, among others).
For more information: www.vrad.com