Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rise In Rate Of Diagnostic Imaging In Managed Care

Date:
November 10, 2008
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
Use of radiology imaging tests has soared in the past decade with a significant increase in newer technologies, according to a new study that is the first to track imaging patterns in a managed care setting over a substantial time period.

Use of radiology imaging tests has soared in the past decade with a significant increase in newer technologies, according to a new study that is the first to track imaging patterns in a managed care setting over a substantial time period.

Study results are reported in the November/December 2008 issue of the journal Health Affairs, which focuses on the pros and cons of the medical technology boom, the biggest driver of increasing healthcare costs.

A team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and the Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle conducted the study using data from 377,000 patients enrolled in the Group Health Cooperative in Washington state between 1997 and 2006. The study population underwent five million radiology tests during this 10-year period.

Analysis showed an increase in all type of imaging technologies, with the majority of the tests being X-ray procedures. The average total imaging cost per patient, per year doubled during the study period, from $229 to $443.

The most striking finding was the increase in the number of newer and pricier tests such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans, according to the research team. In 1997, 13.5 percent of the study group had undergone a CT, MRI, or both, and in 2006 it was 21 percent. Study results showed the per-patient number of CT scans doubled over the 10 years, and the number of MRI scans tripled.

This increase in CT and MRI imaging appeared across the board, with no single patient group or disease group dominating, according to lead author Rebecca Smith-Bindman, MD, an associate professor of radiology and biomedical imaging, epidemiology and biostatistics, and obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at UCSF.

The goal with newer imaging tests is to use them in the most efficient and effective way possible and as a replacement for older, less accurate tests, emphasized Smith-Bindman. "But we found the newer tests, such as CT and MRI, are being added on top of the old tests, such as X-rays, rather then replacing them—and this increases costs.

"Like first-time parents taking baby pictures, we may be overdoing it with newer diagnostic imaging tests. Using these tests wisely can detect treatable diseases and save lives. Excess imaging may be too much of a good thing. In addition to health care costs, we need to consider patients' exposure to potentially cancer-causing radiation. The benefit of testing needs to be balanced against the risk," she said.

Smith-Bindman's study confirms previous reports of a trend toward over-imaging, including one that found imaging has risen faster than any other medical service that Medicare patients receive.

The study findings also highlight concern about a correlation between the type of health care practice and rates of imaging, Smith-Bindman said. "Unlike managed care systems such as Group Health that receive a fixed amount to care for each patient, 'fee-for-service' practices get financial rewards for doing extra testing, including recouping investments in office-based scanning equipment. It is likely that rates of testing are higher in fee-for-service practice, and this habit of doing more imaging may be spreading into managed care."

The study did not address the appropriateness of imaging and whether the increase was associated with improvements in patient care, and this is an area that needs further study, the research team noted.

"Our results definitely highlight the need to curb unnecessary imaging. In future research we need to examine the value of imaging so that we can assess when the new technology leads to improved patient care and improved outcomes, and when the value of new technologies is limited or nonexistent. In all cases, we need to use the technology in a way that limits unnecessary exposure to radiation," Smith-Bindman said.

Study co-authors were Diana L. Miglioretti, PhD, associate investigator, and Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, executive director, both of the Group Health Center for Health Studies.

The study was supported by funding from the Group Health Center for Health Studies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Rise In Rate Of Diagnostic Imaging In Managed Care." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110065750.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2008, November 10). Rise In Rate Of Diagnostic Imaging In Managed Care. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110065750.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Rise In Rate Of Diagnostic Imaging In Managed Care." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110065750.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The new drug from Novartis could reduce cardiovascular deaths by 20 percent compared to other similar drugs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins