Hospitals advocate for bargain CT scans

With ongoing debates about inappropriate CT scan use, hospitals are using inexpensive CT scanners on smokers to screen for lung cancer, Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post report. Hospitals--including the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center in Denver, Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, and Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in California--found that using the low-cost scans on high-risk patients (smokers) could cut mortality rates by 20 percent by detecting the disease earlier than standard X-rays.

Other reports have revealed imaging tests to be controversial, sometimes inappropriately used and racking up high costs for the institution and the patient.