News | May 12, 2009

Radiology Administrators Still Acquiring Imaging Modalities in 2009

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center radiology staff.

May 12, 2009 – Many U.S. hospital radiology administrators expect to see their capital equipment budgets freed up to allow the acquisitions of key diagnostic imaging equipment, including mammography, digital radiography, fluoroscopy and 64 plus slice CT scanners, according to a newly released study of 250 U.S. hospitals conducted by IMV Limited.

“The bad news is that 70 percent of hospital radiology departments we surveyed are presently operating under partial or total capital equipment spending freezes,” reported Mary C. Patton, director, Market Research at IMV. “This limitation comes on top of the fact that 2009 capital budgets fell 20 percent on average from actual 2008 expenditures. Declining reimbursements, growing pre-certification requirements, and mounting bad debts also represent ongoing challenges,” indicated Patton. “The good news is that many radiology administrators still expect to purchase selected imaging equipment during 2009. Types of equipment most likely to be acquired by year end 2009 include digital mammography, digital radiography, fluoroscopy equipment and 64 plus slice CT scanners.”

The report also found that imaging procedure volumes have experienced increases from Q1 2008 to Q1 2009 for modalities such as CT, digital radiography, non-OB/GYN ultrasound, MRI and PET. Many purchases have been postponed until late 2009 or 2010.

As radiology departments focus on upgrading from analog to digital technologies to their image storage and management capabilities, the report found that two in five current PACS user facilities plan to add one or more upgrades to their PACS over the next two years, particularly those hospitals with 400 beds or more.

Two-thirds of surveyed radiology administrators said their hospitals are proceeding to implement selected capital projects during 2009.

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