Tag Archives: tests

‘Conservative diagnosis’ means judicious testing to avoid potential harm

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Daniel Foster via Flickr

Balancing the challenges of underdiagnosis (missing or delaying important diagnoses) and overdiagnosis (labeling patients with diseases that may never cause suffering or death) can feel like walking across a canyon on a tightrope. Diagnostic errors occur in an estimated 10 percent to 20 percent of cases and will affect most Americans at least once in their lifetime. They are the leading cause of medical malpractice claims, harming more than 4 million people at a cost of more than $100 billion.  Continue reading

Reference pricing for ‘shoppable’ health care services steers consumers to low-cost providers

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Source: Robinson JC, Whaley C, Brown TT. Association of Reference Pricing for Diagnostic Laboratory Testing with Changes in Patient Choices, Prices, and Total Spending for Diagnostic Tests. JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 25, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2492.

When Safeway, a grocery store chain, introduced reference pricing for the most commonly used clinical laboratory tests, spending on those tests dropped by 32 percent over three years, according to a recent study.

Using reference pricing, Safeway saved $2.57 million over the three years of the study (2011 to 2013). Of that amount, $1.05 million (41 percent) went back into consumers’ pockets, and the remaining $1.70 million accrued to Safeway, the study showed. Also, reference pricing led to a 32 percent drop in the average price that consumers paid for 285 different lab tests.

The researchers concluded that reference pricing can lead to savings for employers, workers and family members. JAMA Internal Medicine published the study online on July 25. Continue reading