News | October 16, 2014

New vRad Radiology Patient Care Indices Help Hospitals Compare CT Imaging Performance

Users can compare and contrast by region, classification, bed size and urban/rural location across the country

October 16, 2014 — vRad (Virtual Radiologic) today released its latest RPC (Radiology Patient Care) Indices, “Look in the Mirror,” which are available for free and unrestricted use.

Hospitals, health systems and radiology departments can use normalized data to compare their own usage of computed tomography (CT) imaging in the emergency department (ED) to similar organizations across the U.S. The interactive infographic permits users to self-select their hospital-type peer group for more relevant performance comparisons based on their own geographic region, health system classification, bed size and urban/rural location. Peer group metrics include top CT procedures (overall and by body region) and top reasons for CT study.

“Using analytics to better measure, benchmark and prove overall healthcare value is a complex undertaking,” said Philip Hampton, vice president, Lovelace Health System, New Mexico. “You must know what to measure, how to measure it and what benchmark goals to choose. For example, when tackling issues like imaging appropriateness, you can’t compare your data to a critical access hospital with 25 beds in Vermont if you are a Level 1 trauma center in Los Angeles. Radiology analytics demand context if you are going to make better decisions for better alignment with hospital partners around quality, service levels and performance. Until now, statistically valid samples of normalized data have been unavailable for these necessary peer group comparisons.”

Hospitals and health systems are experiencing ongoing cost-control pressure that is forcing significant changes in the healthcare delivery system, such as pay-for-performance or “fee-for-value” models. “CMOs at local, regional and national IDNs should be making diagnostic imaging performance a priority because it is central to their delivery of high quality, cost efficient healthcare across their facilities,” said Benjamin W. Strong, M.D., ABIM, ABR, vRad’s chief medical officer.

According to Strong, relevant analytics and benchmarks can also be used to measure and monitor radiology’s ongoing performance and its effect on critical cost parameters for hospital CMOs such as “treat to street” in EDs or length of stay for inpatients. “An ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison is required to establish the right starting point on which to build assumptions, define goals and develop and document success metrics.” 

Dr. Strong concludes, “There are many complex moving parts when it comes to improving the value and performance of healthcare. But one thing is clear: Radiology must be the one transforming data into analytics – and effectively shining the spotlight on our use of imaging. If we don’t do it, someone else will do it for us.”

vRad’s 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. They are derived from its clinical database of more than 27 million imaging studies from over 2,000 facilities in all 50 states; vRad’s database is a national projection of the U.S. market. Its patent-pending data normalization tool, vCoder, also solves the “last-mile” challenge – getting disparate data from 2,000+ facilities to “speak the same language” so that comparative metrics can be established and objective comparisons made.

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