Study: Combined use of imaging technology good for patients, imaging companies

The use of MRIs and ultrasound together not only boosts patient care. It can also boost imaging system market growth. Using both forms of imaging in tandem improves providers' ability to treat certain conditions, such as rotator cuff injuries and breast cancer, according to a recent report of the MRI and ultrasound markets released by market research firm Kalorama Information. 

"Ultrasound is a cheaper imaging modality, yet MRI can provide more depth," Joe Constance, Kalorama's imaging analyst and the author of the report, said in an announcement. "So it's not a surprise to see ultrasound recommended for the initial medical imaging test and an MRI as a secondary test to find any alternate diagnosis and give the surgeon the needed anatomy."

Perhaps not surprisingly, using both imaging tests also increases sales of the products. Worldwide revenue for MRI and ultrasound grew at 6% and 4% respectively between 2010 and 2011, despite the recession and weak economy, according to the report.

While imaging can cause harm and using two kinds can arguably constitute overutilization, this report indicates that in some instances using these two imaging tests together is not just defensive medicine but is medically appropriate. The use of both tests can also serve as an effective alternative to CT scans, which emit more radiation, according to the report. 

To learn more:

- here's the Kalorama Information announcement

- purchase the full report

- read more about CT scans and radiation in the FierceHealthIT article