News | January 06, 2010

Lower Mortality Rates in Patients Receiving Imaging Tests

January 6, 2010 - Hospitals where patients were more likely to receive imaging services during admissions had lower mortality, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Researchers set out to examine correlations between the use of four common imaging modalities, CT, MR, ultrasound, and X-ray, and in-hospital mortality and costs.

The study used clinical and utilization data for 1.1 million inpatient admissions at 102 U.S. hospitals during 2007. The researchers developed hospital-specific, risk-adjusted imaging utilization measures for each modality for controlling patients’ demographic and clinical characteristics, and for hospital characteristics were constructed for each modality.

Logistic regression was first applied to estimate the odds that each type of imaging service would be provided during an admission. Second, the mean number of services per admission was estimated using output from a two-part ordinary least squares model. Hospital-specific, risk-adjusted inpatient mortality and total hospital costs were also computed, and correlations between the imaging utilization measures and the mortality and cost outcome measures were then assessed using Pearson's correlation coefficients (P

Hospitals in which patients were more likely to receive imaging services during admissions had lower mortality, even after controlling for potential confounders. Correlation coefficients were ?0.2 for all modalities (P = .02-.05). Weaker correlations existed between mean services per admission and mortality, while costs trended insignificantly higher with greater utilization.

Researchers concluded the study lays the foundation for further study on the relationship between resource use and the clinical and economic outcomes associated with imaging utilization.

Lee, D; Foster, D. The Association Between Hospital Outcomes and Diagnostic Imaging: Early Findings. November 2009. Volume 6, Issue 11, Pages 780-785.

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