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NQF Endorses Consensus Standards to Reduce Waste and Promote Safe and Effective Use of Imaging Procedures
Date:10/30/2008

Measures address appropriate and efficient use of procedures

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Quality Forum has endorsed eight national voluntary consensus standards to encourage the appropriate and efficient use of imaging procedures in outpatient settings. The set of standards helps -- via measurement and public reporting -- to decrease inappropriate use and costs associated with outpatient imaging while improving care for patients and increasing patient safety.

Outpatient imaging -- such as CT scans and MRIs -- is a common and frequently performed part of healthcare delivery that has an annual cost of approximately $14 billion for Medicare beneficiaries. Yet there are few national standards to measure the safety, quality, efficiency, and appropriate use of outpatient imaging services.

"There are opportunities within many areas of our healthcare system to eliminate waste by providing effective services, and only effective services, to each and every patient," said Janet Corrigan, NQF president and CEO. "To improve the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare in America we must reduce unnecessary and redundant services that expose patients to more potential harm than good."

When measured and publicly reported, the standards endorsed by NQF can help healthcare systems pinpoint inefficiencies, waste, and overuse within outpatient imaging services by tracking patient radiation exposure, documenting the use of imaging services, and tracking the use of results.

Mark Needham, MD, MBA, CEO of Santa Monica Bay Physicians Health Services, and David Levin, MD, professor and chairman of Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Pennsylvania, co-chaired NQF's steering committee on outpatient imaging.

"Imaging is vitally important to many diagnostic evaluations and preventive healthcare programs. It also can be expensive for patients and other purchasers," said Needham. "Endorsing
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SOURCE National Quality Forum
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