Choosing Wisely with Open Health Market
A recent study released by nine medical specialty groups as part of a project organized by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), and promoted by Consumer Reports, has identified 45 medical tests that are often over-utilized and unnecessary. The project, called "Choose Wisely," plans to help physicians and patients make better choices about the best care for their conditions.
Of the 45 over-utilized tests, imaging accounted for more than half of the tests. The most common of which is a CT scan for lower back pain. This is an important finding because not only does a CT scan cost thousands of dollars, but it also exposes the patient to significant amounts of radiation. For example, a CT scan has 200 times the amount of radiation than that of an x-ray, and there is significant evidence that the cumulative effects of radiation from imaging can increase the risk of cancer down the road.
In addition to the medical risks associated with unnecessary testing, the disparity in pricing for such tests is astounding. In the current market, prices paid for routine medical services can vary as much as 300 percent. For instance, in Portland, Maine, a routine MRI can cost a patient as much as $2,000, or as little as $800. For more complex procedures like joint replacements, the price variation can be in the tens of thousands. These significant variations in price exist in all markets, in all parts of the country.
In order to close these price gaps, avoid unnecessary testing, and allow physicians and patients to make the best choices, they need to know what their options are. This is where Open Health Market can help in two very important ways. First, Open Health Market helps patients find high quality medical professionals who are providing best care practices and making sure unnecessary tests are not being recommended, which can save thousands of dollars, and decrease the risk of avoidable radiation exposure. Second, when a medical test is necessary, Open Health Market connects patients with high value medical providers. So "Choose Wisely.” Open Health Market can help you find the right care at the right price, improve your health, and save you thousands.
For a closer look at the “Choose Wisely” project, click here.
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