MASSDEVICE ON CALL — 1 out of every 5 cardiac ultrasounds given to patients may be in vain, according to a new study. Although not disparaging use of cardiac ultrasound, researchers concluded that about 20% of the imaging tests had little impact on future patient treatment.
For doctors who needs more information, this heart imaging technique, called transthoracic echocardiogram, can often be the right call, but the study also found that for 50% of patients merely see a "continuation" of treatment following the evaluation.
"The fact is that for a tool that is so powerful for its diagnostic ability, it was a little surprising how much less clinically useful it appears to be," lead author Dr. Susan Matulevicius told Heartwire.
Researchers suggested that docs take a closer look at why they perform the echocardiograms and whether such a test will actually impact a patient’s health outcomes.
More doctors turn away from Medicare patients
Fewer doctors are willing to accept patients insured by Medicare, according to recent numbers from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In 2009, there were 3,700 doctors who opted out of the federal insurance program for the elderly. By 2012, the number was up 158% to 9,539 doctors.
Australia’s largest non-profit insurer chooses U.S. telemonitoring company
Healthways, a Nashville, Tenn.-based health technology company, won a contract from the largest non-profit insurance company in the land down under. Australia’s HCF currently covers more than 1.5 million Australians and is executing the Healthways telecommunications contract with the help of Telstra, an information services provider.
Heart surgery in India costs 67x less than the in the U.S.
A network of medical centers in India has managed to cut the costs of common heart surgery down to $1,583. The same surgery would costs
$106,385 at the Cleveland Clinic, 67 times more than the Indian procedure. Devi Shetty, the heart surgeon heading the Indian network of 21 hospitals, managed to trim costs with a variety of techniques, including by ordering cheaper scrubs and skimping on the AC.
Back pain costs $20 billion in lost productivity, study finds
Back pain is inching higher as one of the top costs in healthcare, with a new study finding that, as the 5th most common reason a patient visits a doctor, back pain treatments add up to $86 billion in medical bills per year in the U.S.
The study also found that back pain is taking people out of work and into the clinic, a total of $20 billion in lost productivity dollars.