Steering towards quality

by jerry on May 19, 2019
Kaiser Health News reported that Walmart is steering its workers (and dependents) towards higher-quality imaging centers. Apparently, "some academic research has found mistakes on advanced images such as CT scans and MRIs can reach up to 30% of diagnoses" -- very high compared to the 3%-5% that the article reports that typical radiology practices experience. While patients can still choose to go to other imaging centers, they end up paying more.

Interestingly, the article reported that Walmart found out about the discrepancy in error rates when they heard back from certain treatment centers that patients were misdiagnosed or recommended the incorrect procedure. Diagnostic mistakes can be very expensive, and can have a huge impact on quality and length of patients' lives. If the details are indeed as laid out in the article and if the quality designations are accurate, it sounds like there can be a tremendous opportunity for both cost savings and better outcomes for patients.

Naturally, providers that are not on the list would be concerned. It would be great if the healthcare community developed and adopted transparent quality metrics that could be published throughout the industry to help consumers decide which medical centers and hospitals to visit.