The Benefits of Applied Analytics: Lower Costs

By Bill Pickart, CEO, Integrated Radiology Partners


The application of Quality data has become one of the most critical ways radiology groups can improve accuracy and ensure success in a rapidly changing market.

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control administered a national survey to understand the effectiveness of electronic health record (EHR) systems within medical practices. The results were published in a report titled “National Perceptions of EHR Policies,” and stated that of the surveyed physician leaders who had already adopted an EHR system, 75 percent reported a subsequent improvement in patient care, and 67 percent reported their practice benefitted financially due to the switch to an electronic records platform.

EHR systems have the ability to collect massive amounts of data that can be used to fuel superior practice performance while reducing costs—and that is important, given the rate at which diagnostic imaging spend is increasing.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), the annual spend on diagnostic imaging is $100 billion, making it the second-largest—and fastest growing—item for healthcare payors. AAOS also estimates that $30 billion of this spend is unnecessary, due to inappropriate utilization of imaging or duplication of studies.

Inappropriate utilization of imaging and study duplication are not only financially costly, but they cost radiology groups and imaging centers time and effort, and can significantly slow a practice’s productivity.

In response, many groups have turned to the trend of consolidation to not only generate the economies of scale needed to survive in the rapidly evolving healthcare marketplace, but to consolidate clinical data to support the decision-making process. This aggregation of both physicians and data can highly benefit groups from a clinical and business perspective.

One recent application of using analytics to lower costs is the reduction of medical malpractice insurance rates, an often lofty expense for practices.

Within IRP’s group collaboratives, radiology leaders are able to apply analytics to generate a 20 percent discount on malpractice insurance premiums within the first year, with additional discounts expected in the future. Further premium cost reduction will come through the application of analytics allowing for the identification and management of specific procedural protocols and their underlying risk profiles. This provides radiologists access to leading insurance underwriters offering premium coverage, long-term rate stability, and the ability to create a custom risk management program.

By utilizing practice information to drive decisions, radiology leaders can experience significant cost savings. Remember, power in numbers is good, but coupled with the power of information it gets even better.