News | August 13, 2012

New Institute Examines Imaging's Impact on Healthcare

August 13, 2012 — The new Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute (HPI), established by the American College of Radiology (ACR), will examine the role of radiology in new healthcare delivery and payment models — particularly quality-based approaches to radiologic care and the impact of medical imaging on overall healthcare costs. Named for radiology leader Harvey L. Neiman, M.D., FACR, the institute will conduct research regarding medical imaging use, quality and safety metrics, and human resources as medicine moves toward non-traditional value-based reimbursement and delivery. 

“Most of the existing research regarding radiology policy focuses solely on cost and utilization of imaging as standalone end points. This is an incomplete approach. The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute will build on existing data and conduct new research to determine the impact of radiologic exams on downstream care and overall healthcare spending. As recognized experts in medical imaging, radiologists are uniquely positioned to perform this work. The ACR is proud to support these efforts which will serve as the basis for true, evidence-based medical imaging policy options and benefit all those who need care,” said Bibb Allen, M.D., FACR, chair of the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute board of directors. 

Much of the existing utilization data used by policymakers are out of date and not reflective of current patterns. Imaging use in Medicare is down since 2008, and Medicare spending on scans is the same now as it was in 2003. Imaging is also the slowest growing of all physician services among privately insured Americans, according to the Health Care Cost Institute.

“The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute will more broadly examine how these lifesaving tools can best be implemented in evolving increasingly value-conscious healthcare delivery models, and study the optimal role of radiologists in ensuring the quality, safety and efficiency of these vital exams while optimizing patient access. At present, lawmakers and regulators are making policy decisions about medical imaging without knowing their full effects on individual patients or the healthcare system as a whole. The institute will strive to answer many of these important questions,” said Richard Duszak, Jr, M.D., FACR, CEO of the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute.

Various studies show that imaging exams are directly linked to greater life expectancy, and for many indications, declines in mortality rates. Scans are also safer and less expensive than many of the invasive procedures they replace. For many serious indications, imaging exams reduce the number of invasive surgeries, unnecessary hospital admissions and length of hospital stays. The overall quality, safety and financial impact of these successes against primary diseases, injuries and illnesses, and the role that radiologists and radiology will serve in new models of care have yet to be thoroughly explored. 

“The ACR board of chancellors and council steering committee are delighted that we could name this research institute for a distinguished colleague. Dr. Harvey Neiman is an outstanding physician, effective leader and respected medical scholar. We have every expectation that the information produced at the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute will benefit patients and help make the most efficient and effective use of health care resources,” said Paul Ellenbogen, M.D., FACR, chair of the ACR board of chancellors.

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