Analytics Key to Catalyzing Change

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William PickartThe central goal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is, as its name suggests, to restore patients to their rightful place as the center around which US health care revolves. Though the legislation is complex, the goal is simple: to incentivize an overburdened, decentralized system toward reducing costs while improving outcomes. Providers have a limited window in which to change the way that they manage their practices as the industry transitions to more sustainable care-delivery models.

This transition will be quite challenging. As radiology knows all too well (following years of reimbursement cuts), the imperative to do more with less necessitates sophisticated, intelligent use of real-time business and clinical data. In this issue of RadAnalytics, three members of a progressive practice’s leadership team hypothesize about what might be required from the specialty as alternative models of care and reimbursement take root. Though the definitive answers still remain to be seen, their predictions about what the future will hold are insightful.

As the articles that follow highlight, radiology should be central to the provision of patient care. In order to attain that role, however, the specialty will need to redouble its focus on consultation—without sacrificing the level of productivity necessary to maintain profitability. Moving the radiologist to the center of the care continuum represents a financial, operational, and (most of all) cultural challenge—and sophisticated IT and analytics will play a critical role in facilitating the transition across these matrices.

The health-care system of the future, however, will not just require that radiology practices find a way to be more patient centered. It will also necessitate that they, like all providers, join with their fellow caregivers in exchanging useful data to achieve quantifiable results. In order to have a positive influence on the design of any such model, radiology practices will need advanced informatics and analytics to capture, analyze, and report applicable information, enabling them to influence proper utilization of imaging services, drive better patient outcomes, and successfully guide their practices into health care’s brave new world.

Collaboration, in short, is imperative to improving outcomes meaningfully while reducing costs, and cross-platform, integrated analytics capabilities will separate the radiology practices of the future from those that are doomed to fall by the wayside. In this and future issues of RadAnalytics, we’ll bring you a deeper understanding of how progressive practices around the country are leveraging analytics to catalyze vital, overdue change.

Bill Pickart is CEO of Integrated Medical Partners (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). He welcomes your comments at bill.pickart@integratedmp.com.