Content created from a live webinar on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 at 12pm CT / 1pm ET. Now available on-demand.
When genetics counselor Jacquelyn Riley, MS, and pathologist Gary Procop, MD, MS, FCAP, meet with administrators and other physicians at the Cleveland Clinic, they don’t initially focus on cost.
“We talk about initiatives that are best practice,” said Procop. “When you have those types of drivers you keep everyone engaged because everybody has gotten into this field to have better patient care.”
He said it’s this type of patient-centered care through test utilization that prevents unnecessary phlebotomy, infections from wounds, and false-positive test results from additional blood draws and unnecessary tests.
Without this type of oversight, not only are patients’ health put at risk, but significant additional costs can arise.
For instance, Riley describes one case in which six tests were ordered for a patient suspected of having a genetic disorder known as spinocerebellar ataxia. These tests would have cost over $2,500.
Upon further examination of the patient’s health record, it was discovered that a longtime medication to control the patient’s epilepsy was at a toxic level, causing the patient’s symptoms. The problem was quickly addressed without waiting for unnecessary tests.
“Really, his presentation was not consistent with a hereditary onset of ataxia, which tends to be slowly progressive over years,” said Riley. “This was being used as a rule out, and given the rarity of genetic disorders and the cost of testing; this was not a great fit.”
When running a health system like the Cleveland Clinic, $2,500 may not seem like a large expenditure, but these costs build over time. In fact, the Test Utilization Committee reports savings of over $250,000 in 2016 after completing their genetic test review. After implementing hard stops, restricted use, expensive test notifications, and other initiatives, the Cleveland Clinic has saved well over $3 million dollars since the beginning of its program.
Procop said, “In improving test utilization, not only can we affect cost, but we really can touch every aspect that the institution calls for for quality health care delivery.”