Radiologists may be losing their dominance in the imaging industry, partly due to competition and partly due to the intervention of radiology benefit management companies, according to a group of studies in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
The studies, which examined a 10-year span of Medicare data, concluded that the biggest growth in imaging billings actually came from those performed by non-radiologists and in private-office settings over that period. In fact, utilization of imaging in private-office settings grew by 63 percent between 1996 and 2006, one study concluded.
Throughout this shift, hospitals haven't gotten much of the pie. Hospital imaging-centers' market share decreased from 47 percent in 1996 to 41 percent in 2006. And while emergency departments saw a 77 percent growth in imaging procedures during that period, utilization was still much lower than in other settings.
Another article found that the use of evidence-based imaging guidelines under the direction of a radiology benefits-management program cut utilization. Under the program studied, 14 percent of all procedures reviewed weren't performed, and about 6 percent of all ordered procedures were reordered using what was considered a more appropriate exam.
To learn more about the studies:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req)
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