News | July 23, 2006

Patient-Centered Changes Drive Imaging

Donald Rucker, Chief Medical Officer of Siemens Medical Solutions USA, testified at the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing, on behalf of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, indicating that the rapid increase in medical imaging utilization stems from patient-centered changes due to its unprecedented ability to allow physicians to diagnose, treat and monitor cancer, stroke and heart disease.
“The power of imaging to offer more precise and less-invasive care has sparked what can only be described as a fundamental transformation in medicine. Physicians can now use imaging for more conditions, for more patients, and for a much broader array of purposes than ever before,” said Rucker. “In fact, imaging has become a standard of modern care for virtually all major medical conditions and disease. This includes cancer, stroke, heart disease, trauma and abdominal and neurological conditions.”
Rucker addressed the subcommittee in reference the Deficit Reduction Act’s plans Medicare reimbursement cuts for medical imaging as the U.S. Congress considers whether these reductions should be better understood before they go into effect.
Rucker emphasized that medical imaging devices such as PET, CT and MR have enabled physicians to locate and treat disease with unprecedented precision, which is improving patient-centered care and driving increased utilization; instead of the assumption that financial incentives of providers is the impetus for rapid growth of imaging utilization. Rucker added, “No one can doubt that financial incentives play a role in the use of imaging. But the impact of these incentives pales in comparison to these broader, patient-centered changes.”

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