News | June 29, 2009

Diagnostic Imaging Associated with Improved Health Outcomes, Little or No Impact on Cost

June 29, 2009 - The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) commended today the release of a new study demonstrating that use of imaging services in hospitals is associated with lower patient mortality, with little or no impact on length of stay and cost.

The study, led by David Lee, Ph.D., senior director, health economics and outcome research at GE Healthcare, was presented today at the 2009 Academy Health Annual Research Meeting in Chicago, providing further evidence on the value of medical imaging technology in improving health outcomes while minimizing cost of care.

“Not only does this study help strengthen what physicians, researchers and patients have known for decades regarding the value of medical imaging in improving the way numerous diseases and conditions are diagnosed and treated, it also provides notable findings on the cost effectiveness of these technologies,” said Ilyse Schuman, managing director of MITA, a member of the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition. “As policymakers and the health care community ardently work toward improving health care quality and accessibility, MITA encourages lawmakers to consider the role medical imaging can play in both improving outcomes and controlling costs.”

The study, based on the experience of more than 1 million patients in more than 100 U.S. hospitals, found that receiving a diagnostic imaging service – including computed tomography (CT), magnetic radiology (MR), ultrasound or X-ray – during a hospital admission may be associated with decreased inpatient mortality and with a statistically insignificant impact on admission-related costs. These findings contradict common assumptions about imaging’s role in driving health care costs.

“With comprehensive health care reform as a major focus this year, it is critical for policymakers, physicians and others to look to research when assessing the value of imaging in providing high quality and cost-effective care,” said Schuman. “We believe this study serves as a valuable springboard for new research questions and continued explorations into the value of medical imaging in saving lives and keeping down costs.”

The study included all clinical conditions treated in-hospital, assessing the experience of patients with private, commercial and governmental-sponsored insurance.

MITA hopes that this early study showcasing the positive relationship between imaging and decreased mortality will help advance future research and dialogue highlighting this important association.

For more information: www.medicalimaging.org

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