You Can’t Afford Low-Quality Health Care

The headline is not a typo: you really can’t afford low-quality health care. The costs—not only in dollars spent, but also in lost time and productivity for employees on your company’s health plan as well as lessened patient health and well-being—are simply too high.

Natasha Irani
Spreemo Health Expands High-Quality Diagnostics Offerings to Combat Inappropriate Care and Unnecessary Surgery

New program to focus first on reducing diagnostic errors for at-risk spine patients

NEW YORK (June 14, 2017) — Spreemo Health today announced the launch of the Diagnostic Accuracy Program, which combines its data-driven quality care framework with collaborative, consensus-based second opinions in order to mitigate the effects of diagnostic errors on patients considering surgery or other high-risk medical interventions.

Natasha Irani
Price Shopping Could Cut Employer Health Costs By 20%, But There's A Catch

In fact, not all MRIs are alike, a point made clear in a riveting new study in the peer-reviewed Spine Journal. The unusual study design involved a “secret shopper” scenario in which a 63-year-old woman with lower back pain obtained 10 different MRIs over a period of three weeks, all from different imaging centers in her region.

The results: each of the 10 centers reported a different set of diagnoses and different treatment plans, for a total of 49 different findings about this one woman’s back. Some centers missed a problem they should have detected, and others found a problem where none existed. Treatment recommendations also varied, with some likely to accomplish nothing and several so risky they would likely have made the patient’s situation far worse.

Though the researchers didn’t report on the price charged for each of these MRIs, they told me in general they found that price does not predict the accuracy of the diagnosis.

Julian Yao
Need an MRI? It pays to shop around. Big time.

A study in the Spine Journal this month reported that MRIs on one patient’s lumbar spine at 10 different imaging centers in New York City showed variability in how the findings were interpreted and a "high prevalence" of errors in interpretation.

Making matters worse for consumers: Quality is not necessarily correlated with price, says Binder.

"Not all MRIs are created equal," agrees Binder.

Julian Yao
The AHCA Gets It Wrong: Health Care Is Different

Continuing in our role as a thought leader shaping discussions of quality healthcare, Spreemo Health reached the center of the ongoing national debate on healthcare reform when Dr. Robert Berenson, former vice-chair of MedPAC and current member of PTAC, featured our landmark Spine Journal study as the cornerstone of his analysis of the AHCA in a piece for Health Affairs, described by the Washington Post as the “bible of healthcare policy”. No matter where you stand on the AHCA, our study raises critical questions of quality and value that you cannot ignore.

Julian Yao