What the world needs is a good $1000 MRI scan. Why can’t we talk about how to bring down the cost of MRI scanners so that one can be parked in a non-magnetic quonset at Wal-Mart?  After all, the next wave of clinical business innovation has to crack the problem of how to provide lower octane health care.   To be sustainable, the system requires a selection of non-premium services that are modern and sensitive, but are robust and inexpensive enough to operate at $1000 a pop.

Health care organizations need to stop sending the message to Siemens, Fujitsu, GE or whomever else makes MRI scanners that they need to offer more premium scanners with expensive features because others are paying for it.  This is an amped up case of creeping featurism. What about moderate resolution with a basic package of options?   Perhaps this is already happening?

Someone needs to offer the “Kia” of MRI scanners- a moderately priced system with enough features to be useful to 80 % of patients. If the 1 kilobuck scan turns up nothing, then the Doc ratchets up the horsepower another notch.  This is the kind of thinking that is needed to keep the cost of treatment in line with inflation.

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