Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance Communications Inc. announced that the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI), a nonprofit organization whose members include 60 medical groups and six sponsoring health plans throughout Minnesota and surrounding states, has licensed Nuance's RadPort, an electronic, evidence-based, decision-support (e-Ordering) solution to support a statewide initiative to help ensure Minnesotans only receive medically appropriate high-tech (MRI, CT, PET and nuclear cardiology) diagnostic imaging (HTDI) tests.
The ICSI initiative, which is the first of its kind in the country, is expected to save the Minnesota healthcare community more than $28 million annually. In addition, ICSI will use Nuance's RadCube software solution to analyze physician-ordering trends in parallel with patients' actual clinical outcomes.
After a yearlong pilot program, in which more than 4,000 physicians from five Minnesota medical groups, five health plans (Allina Medical Clinic, Fairview Health Services, HealthPartners Medical Group, Park Nicollet Health Services, and St. Mary's/Duluth Clinic Health System, BlueCross Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Medica, and UCare) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services used e-Ordering to order HTDI exams, it was found that the exams ordered with evidence-based decision-support technology had an increase in medical appropriateness versus orders initiated without it. The pilot also showed that using decision-support appropriateness criteria in the physician's office reduced patient exposure to unnecessary radiation, and contributed to a 0 percent increase in HTDI scans ordered in 2007 (following an 8 percent increase in Minnesota in 2006). During the time of the pilot, an estimated $28 million in healthcare cost savings was reported.