As healthcare debates continue to wage across the country, the cost of care is a hot topic of discussion. While the bottom line is important, medical experts stress that value must also be considered. Case in point is a common diagnostic procedure that costs a bit on the front end, but can end up saving insurers and patients thousands of dollars in the long run. Since its widespread introduction into hospitals across the country in the 1990s, the CT scan has saved untold numbers of patients from unnecessary surgical procedures and the costs associated with them.
Computerized tomography, or CT, technology enables doctors to gain a clearer picture of what is going on inside the body. It does so more accurately than X-rays in regard to gauging organ and soft tissue health. It also does so without the need for exploratory surgery.
Prior to the introduction of CT scans, patients who were believed to have appendix-related complaints almost always underwent surgery just to be on the safe side. About one in four patients, however, turned out having no appendix-related problems. Even so, they were operated on and ended up having to incur those costs and the associated pain and recovery time that goes along with surgery. Since CT scans were introduced, millions of people have been spared from surgery that would have turned out to be unnecessary.
While CT scans can have a high price tag for use, they add value to the healthcare process. By sparing people from unnecessary surgery and its costs, this simple test makes the diagnostic process better and more accurate.
As healthcare remains a hot topic, it’s important for people across the country to remain mindful of value. Diagnostic procedures that may cost a bit on the front end can end up saving thousands of dollars down the road. Since they may also spare people from unnecessary surgery and its associated potential complications, the true value may be priceless.