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How One Provider is Saving Millions on Imaging Equipment

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media, December 16, 2013

"Since the start of the project in early 2012, the system has reduced capital spending on CT scanners by 9%, nuclear medicine by 25%, mammography by 3%, X-ray by 10%, and ultrasound by 4%," Hahn says.

Before deciding which machines to remove, Aurora surveyed a few thousand patients and learned that they are typically willing to travel 20 minutes or 10 miles for diagnostic imaging and less for general X-ray, Hahn says. "We made a cut off line where we felt attrition could occur, and we might lose too much volume if patients were asked to travel too far."

In addition to obtaining patient input, Aurora also included its physicians in the decision-making process. "[This] wasn't something that was being done to them. They have to play an active role," Hahn says.

Using a consistent set of standards around technology life cycles, patient convenience, and utilization patterns has also helped Aurora achieve physician and staff buy-in because they are fair concepts that everyone can comprehend, Hahn adds. "We tried to be disciplined in using the same criteria so we didn't keep changing the rules and so that we had a process that people understood."

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