Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Forty-five percent rise in diagnostic imaging tests by GPs in Australia

Date:
July 22, 2014
Source:
University of Sydney
Summary:
A 45 percent rise in diagnostic imaging tests ordered by Australian GPs is being driven by increasing GP visits, a rising number of problems managed at consultations and a higher likelihood that GPs order imaging tests for these problems, according to a new study says. Based on a long term national survey of 9,802 GPs between 2002 and 2012, the report draws on data from more than 980,000 GP-patient encounter records to assess the extent to which GP's order tests in line with diagnostic imaging guidelines.

A 45 per cent rise in diagnostic imaging tests ordered by Australian GPs is being driven by increasing GP visits, a rising number of problems managed at consultations and a higher likelihood that GPs order imaging tests for these problems, according to a new University of Sydney study released today.

Related Articles


Based on a long term national survey of 9,802 GPs between 2002 and 2012, the report draws on data from more than 980,000 GP-patient encounter records to assess the extent to which GP's order tests in line with diagnostic imaging guidelines.

"Most imaging tests ordered by GPs comply with expert guidelines," says the report's lead author, Dr Helena Britt. "However, the study indicates that GPs are too quick to order imaging tests during their initial assessment of back problems. GPs are twice as likely to order an imaging test during the initial examination of new back-problems compared to follow-up consultations.

"Expert guidelines advise caution in ordering tests for presenting back problems unless there is a 'red flag' to prompt investigation," says Dr Britt. "'Red flags' can include issues such as major trauma, unexplained weight loss, unexplained fever, history of malignancy, inflammatory conditions and neurological issues. However, patients with 'red flags' account for a small proportion of people presenting with new back problems."

Overall, diagnostic radiology (plain x-rays) was the test type most frequently ordered by GPs (54 per cent), followed by computerised tomography (36 per cent), magnetic resonance imaging (5 per cent) and ultrasound (3 per cent). The study also notes a trend away from diagnostic radiology to CT and MRI orders, in line with changing recommendations in the guidelines.

The four strongest predictors of whether GPs order a diagnostic imaging test are:

Number of problems managed at the GP-visit -- each additional problem managed increases the probability of testing by 41 per cent.

Type of medical problem managed -- particularly musculoskeletal problems, female genital issues, pregnancy and family planning issues.

Patient characteristics -- females, those aged 45 years and older, and new patients.

GP characteristics -- women, GPs aged 35-44 years, those in solo practice, and those in a practice co-located with an imaging service.

The study can be found online at: http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/10610/3/9781743324141_ONLINE.pdf


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Sydney. "Forty-five percent rise in diagnostic imaging tests by GPs in Australia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722152547.htm>.
University of Sydney. (2014, July 22). Forty-five percent rise in diagnostic imaging tests by GPs in Australia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722152547.htm
University of Sydney. "Forty-five percent rise in diagnostic imaging tests by GPs in Australia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722152547.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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