News | May 28, 2008

General Radiologists, Subspecialists Disagree in 44 Percent of Cases

May 29, 2008 – In a study comparing the medical imaging interpretations of general radiologists to those of subspecialty radiologists, there was a 44 percent level of non-concordance (disagreement) in interpretation between the two groups.

The study, conducted by Premerus, a diagnostic management company, concluded that subspecialty readings were found more likely to be accurate and efficient, with significant potential cost savings. With these results, Premerus estimates that subspecialty radiology can generate savings to health plans and benefits payers of approximately $4.45 per member per month, or $53M annually for a million-member plan. There were 575,000 members in the heath plans studied, allowing for potential annual savings of over $27,000,000.

Premerus will deliver a poster presentation, "Improving Diagnostic Accuracy in Radiologist's Interpretations with Potential Savings," at a national conference dedicated specifically to diagnostic error in medicine, May 31, 2008, Arizona Grand Resort, Phoenix, AZ, and co-sponsored by American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The conference will bring together experts in diagnostic medicine to summarize the current state of the field by reviewing research in the clinical and cognitive sciences, and to catalyze emerging ideas that should be implemented to minimize diagnostic error in the future.

"While the downstream costs of inaccurate interpretations can be profound, they may be significantly reduced by utilizing radiology subspecialists," states Norman Scarborough, M.D., medical director of Premerus. "Minimizing diagnostic error is an essential aspect of patient safety. Going forward, it will be important to understand the causes of diagnostic errors, determine where the process goes astray and what steps can be taken to reduce their impact on patients."

According to Scarborough the conference provides an opportunity for all healthcare stakeholders to address medical misdiagnosis and take steps to mitigate its impact.

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