Frank Cohen has just completed his own four-year study on changes in E/M utilization between 2003 and 2007. In this study, Frank created a set of values that measure the velocity (magnitude and direction) of shifts to E/M code utilization within each of seven categories, including office visits, hospital visits, consults and emergency department services. In this study, instead of looking at changes in volume, which can be affected by many variables well beyond physician behavior, the study looked at the shifting in utilization of the code levels within each category, agnostic to the actual changes in volume during that time. To do this, Frank created a value, called a differential that gives a picture of the distribution for each category using a single value. According to Frank, this is a great asset when it comes to graphing the results for a presentation.
The results of the study have been compiled in a worksheet that shows the changes between 2003 and 2007 by specialty by category. So, for example, you would be able to see that, for general surgery for new office visits, there was a 12% shift towards the use of higher E/M codes.
If you would like to get a copy of the results, including a document that outlines the methodology and interpretation of the results, Frank has graciously posted it on his website. Go to www.mitsi.org and click on the Download button. If you have questions or would like to discuss, Frank can be contacted at his email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.