But at the end of the day, the MRI scan may have been the right place to start, and if we had, we could have ultimately reduced cost by skipping the tests and other unnecessary costs that didn’t yield the right result, to enter patients into a faster path to treatment, recovery, and wellness. It’s like directions that send you driving through a cul-de-sac, only to really have to take a left at the next intersection. To get it right, we need to look longitudinally at both cost and quality of care not in silos, but across the whole journey. We will see a future where integrated clinical solutions will provide seamless information and “holistic” patient profiles to assist Radiologists.
How do we change the industry’s mindset, so that we can take those unnecessary costs, and added lefts and rights, out of the system? It starts by asking the right questions, derived by having the right data. Today, radiologists are no longer confined by the walls of radiology. Pathology and radiology are moving closer together. With informatics, EMR, genomic, molecular imaging and a confluence of other data at their fingertips, radiologists can consider so many of the other factors that come into play when diagnosing someone.
This means that the question is not “When can we do an MR?” or even “What test should we order?” but more like “What other information do I need to order the right test for this patient?” or “What patterns can I detect about this patient?” and “How is this patient like others I’ve seen in different data sets?”