A Major Decline In The Utilization Of Radiological Imaging In Emergency Departments

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A latest retrospective study that has been conducted to assess the radiological trends for emergency departments from 1993 to 2012 was undertaken by the researchers of Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston.

Study suggested that Radiological utilization at quaternary care academic medical centre has increased by 28 percent in the patients of ED between 1993 and 2012. The researchers collected data from all the adults who were presented with the primary complaints of ED when the imaging was performed only by radiologists (that include modalities like CT, MRI, angiography and nuclear medicine). To be accurate, 1,058,661 imaging studies were performed on 1,077,057 patients during that time period.

Utilization of high-technologies such as MR imaging and radiology has increased swiftly after 1990s, with nearly two decades of high utilization and incredible development. In addition, the total imaging RVUs (Relative Value Units) has increased by about 267 percent from 1993 to 2007 (after which it observed a steady decrease in the rate by around 19.2 percent). The final number of cases in 2007 were 68,178 – which is almost an increase of 66.5 percent. The total number decreased by 17 percent in 2012 resulting in 56,617 studies. The total effect is 5.6 percent increase in yearly RVUs and accession number increased 1.6 percent each year.

According to another study conducted by Bhargavan and Schepps, radiologists, pointed out that the 8% annual increase in utilization may create a major problem for radiologists, since there is only 1.5% percent annual increase in the number of practicing radiologists. They also suggested that the gap can be filled by advancing technology, such as three-dimensional screening of cross-sectional imagery.

As time moves on, it would be a challenge for everyone to introduce new technology, and we may also see positive evidence of a change in the health conditions of the population.

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