As leaders in the physician community, I wanted to share with you some information regarding the use of ultrasound for diagnosing muscular-skeletal related conditions, and how the appropriate use of ultrasound can reduce the cost per episode of care and help to bend the overall cost curve for our nation’s health care system. Sonosite is committed to not only producing innovative and dynamic equipment but also to being your partner and your key resource regarding the appropriate use of imaging during these changing times in healthcare.
As part of the ongoing debate in Washington, D.C. regarding the future of Medicare physician payment, there is a new program being discussed regarding the appropriate use of advanced medical imaging, such as MRI and CT, and the need to have those that are ordering and performing these services consult physician society endorsed appropriate use criteria. This is welcome news for those that concentrate their practice on muscular-skeletal (MSK) conditions as clinical evidence supports using ultrasound as the first diagnostic test for certain clinical indications, such as rotator cuff and ankle injuries. Medical societies have already developed appropriate use criteria regarding the use of “Ultrasound First,” to diagnose certain rotator cuff injuries.
In a review of the Medicare claims data, it demonstrates that ultrasound is an underutilized diagnostic tool in extremity imaging. In 2005, ultrasound accounted for only 2.1 percentage of Medicare allowed charges and this number hasn’t changed much based on 2011 data of it only being 4.7 percent. So, there is much that we can do, together, to embrace the appropriate use of ultrasound to diagnose MSK conditions.
Sonosite has developed the “MSK University” - MSKU a special program and membership just for our customers in musculoskeletal medicine. It has been designed specifically to support you and your practice through ongoing training in the use of ultrasound to diagnose MSK conditions and dedicated clinical services where we are able to provide customized training in diagnostic ultrasound procedures to your practice or medical facility. I hope you will take advantage of these training courses to be able to provide your patients with a real-time diagnosis of their MSK conditions.
If you are currently a member of MSKU you will see in 2014 this new emphasis in training and resources dedicated to diagnostic exams.
Sonosite looks forward to seeing you at its training courses in 2014.
Diku Mandavia MD FACEP FRCPC
Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer