Two items that were released via the news caught my attention today. One is from the University of Alabama which has found a new new technique that can turn a 20-minute radiotherapy session into a 90-second session for selected patients.
"Faster radiation delivery times reduce the chances that a slight move will affect the accuracy of the radiotherapy targeting," said Richard Popple, PhD., an assistant professor of radiation oncology and UAB's RapidArc team leader. "Also, it means patients spend less time and feel less discomfort in the treatment position."
Another story is about a new computer model that radiologists developed at the University Of Wisconsin School of Medicine that aids them in discriminating between benign and malignant breast lesions. That reminded me of a email sent to me from a reader explaining how a pulmonologist or radiologist was able to use a computer program to create a virtual 3D bronchoscopy by submitting older images and was able to bill again for this "calculation".
I love technology and both articles were saying the right things because they focused on how it improved patient care. With a procedure based payment system, however, the possible abuse is obvious. With quicker radiotherapy sessions (ninety seconds from twenty minutes) comes 12 or 13 more patients who could easily be run through center and that means mo' money, mo' money, mo' money. With new computer models, radiologists have a new procedure to add on for billing and could even potentially go back and redo old mammograms by entering info into the program. That means......mo' money, mo' money, mo' money.
The problem is that our healthcare system has.....no mo' money, no mo' money, no mo' money.