It has been estimated that more than 50 million biopsies are sent to American Medical Laboratories for Diagnostic Interpretation each year. Let’s take a look at this for a moment. When you factor in cost for patient to travel to physician’s office or hospital, time off from work, and the professional expense by clinicians/hospitals/laboratories/etc, the average cost to patient for the biopsy could be estimated as much as $1500-$2000 per biopsy, i.e. 50 x 10(6) x ($1500 or $2000)= $75 to $100 billion dollars or more perhaps annual cost for those biopsies to the patient-public. And, that’s just a low estimate!!
The question becomes:
-Are those biopsies absolutely necessary?
-Are the additional specialized tests on the biopsies absolutely necessary?
-Is there appropriate communication between the patient’s clinician and the laboratory medicine physician who interprets the test sample?
-Can the patient’s physician personally identify which laboratory physician provided the final interpretative diagnostic result?
-Does the patient’s physician know what diagnostic criteria were used and/or if a second opinion/review was rendered?
-What references are available for the patient’s doctor or the patient to review for more clarity regarding the specific final diagnostic report?
-Does the patient’s physician have a financial incentive to send biopsies to certain independent-referenced laboratories or hospital-based laboratories?
-How can the patient directly participate in selecting which laboratory physician provides diagnostic service to patient?
Remember, prior to CLIA’88, physicians routinely performed supportive medical testing on-site in the physician’s office. With the advent of increasingly CLIA waived clinical laboratory analyzed-testing, more tests are being done at the physician’s office, where patients can ask questions about the futility of the testing as well as cost upfront for testing, thus decreasing the number of unnecessary, additional medical laboratory testing sent out to referenced medical laboratories. We at MDC are making an attempt to bring real accountability in diagnostic laboratory medical testing back to the physician’s office through our unique medical practice.
At MDC-Atlanta, we answer the above questions for our patients with transparency and accountability.