The reasons for unnecessary over-use of radiological imaging tests have been investigated. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Health Services Research polled 374 radiologists about their perspective on the causes of increasing and unnecessary use of radiological investigations.
Kristin Lysdahl and Bjørn Hofmann from the University of Oslo, Norway, sent a questionnaire to radiologist members of the Norwegian Medical Association asking them about potential causes of increased investigation volume and unnecessary investigations. Lysdahl said, "Over-utilization implies wasteful investigations, such as those whose results are unlikely to affect patient management. Because some investigations carry risks from radiation exposure and many can be expensive to the health service, it is important to limit their excessive use."
The five highest scored causes of increased use were: increased possibilities due to new radiological technology; patients' increased demands for certain knowledge about their own health; referring physicians' lower tolerance for uncertainty; expanded clinical indications for radiology; and increased availability of radiological equipment and personnel. The authors write, "Patients have become better informed about their rights, and they appear increasingly demanding of investigative procedures."
- Kristin B Lysdahl and Bjorn M Hofmann. What causes increasing and unnecessary use of radiological investigations? a survey of radiologists' perceptions. BMC Health Services Research, 2009; [link]
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