Measures of Efficient Care

The goal of efficient health care is to provide testing and treatment that is appropriate and necessary for high-quality care while avoiding any waste of resources. Health care organizations should intentionally manage all services to achieve the most efficient use of available resources. The measures of efficient care used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) focus on the use of advanced medical imaging tests like CT (computed tomography) scans and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging). If used appropriately, medical imaging is an important part of the diagnosis and follow-up for many medical conditions. If used inappropriately, however, medical imaging can be costly in terms of expense, wait times, and, in some cases, unnecessary exposure to radiation.


Measures of Efficient Care
Efficient Care Measures National Average Alabama Average UAB Hospital Comparison Analysis
Use of medical imaging: outpatients with low back pain who had an MRI without first trying recommended treatments, such as physical therapy (if a number is high, it may mean that the facility is doing too many unnecessary MRIs for low back pain) 39% 42.6% 50%  
Use of medical imaging: outpatient CT scans of the abdomen that were "combination" (double) scans (if a number is high, it may mean that too many patients have a double scan when a single scan is all they need) 6.4% 9.6% 17.8%  
Use of medical imaging: outpatients who had cardiac imaging stress tests before low-risk outpatient surgery (if a number is high, it may mean that too many cardiac scans were done prior to low-risk surgeries) 4.20% 5.50% 7.40%  


Measures of Efficient Care: What is UAB Medicine doing to improve?

UAB Medicine is in the process of adding an electronic tool known as a clinical decision support mechanism (CDSM) from the American College of Radiology as part of the ordering process for advanced imaging tests within the health system. The CDSM contains the most current evidence-based information regarding which advanced imaging tests are the most appropriate to order for a patient’s particular clinical condition. By using the CDSM tool, UAB Medicine providers can be assured that orders for advanced imaging studies like CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, and PET are truly necessary to provide best care. By implementing this tool, UAB Medicine demonstrates its commitment to reduce unnecessary advanced imaging tests.