Doing away with Duplicate Testing Can Cut Healthcare Costs

May 12, 2015

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Duplicate Testing, Healthy UNH blog photo of xray
Image courtesy of Praisaeng

Want to play an active role in reducing health care costs?

Ever arrive at a health services clinic only to discover that your lab test results have not arrived? It is likely that new lab tests will be ordered instead of rescheduling the appointment.

This is referred to as duplicate testing and it occurs frequently in health care facilities across the country.

It is easy to overlook this issue when managing a busy schedule, but taking the initiative to reschedule an appointment directly affects healthcare costs!

The majority of health care facilities have recently transitioned into using electronic medical records. Many people are unaware that the increased amount of incomplete medical records has led to higher amounts of duplicate testing upon patient transfer between care facilities.

Duplicate radiology testing not only exposes patients to unnecessary radiation, but it is a waste of U.S healthcare dollars. Studies show that one in five hospital radiology tests are duplicates. This wastes 20 billion dollars in health costs a year, which essentially comes directly out of our health insurance premiums. Research shows that 63 percent of outpatient chart pulls were duplicate efforts that could be eliminated with an integrated health care system. The implementation of a health information exchange system within facilities will reduce the occurrence of duplicate testing procedures.

An article published by Stanford Medicine reports that the use of repeat CT scans, X-rays and ultrasounds was significantly lower when unaffiliated health care facilities utilized a consistent health information exchange system.

What you can do:

Rescheduling doctor’s appointments and keeping track of testing completed will decrease the occurrence of duplicate testing. As a patient, it is important to play an active role in your health care to protect your health while simultaneously reducing health care expenditure!

See how UNH is making efforts towards electronic health records through the work at the Institute for Health Policy and Practice: New Hampshire Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program 

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