Use of CT scans slowing, but not in ERs

The use of CT scans has decreased in the past decade and continues to slow, according to a market research report from vendor IMV's Medical Information Division. However, scans remain at a steady demand by patients who pass through the emergency room. Outpatients often are directed to ERs for radiology as hospitals receive higher reimbursement rates than independent imaging centers. The report found that outpatient and ER now make up 82 percent of scans, compared with 66 percent a decade ago.

In addition to cost concerns, doctors are discouraging patients from undergoing unnecessary medical tests. Patients are wary of tests that may expose them to unwanted radiation, which may account for the drop in CT scans. Medical experts attest that the risks of harmful radiation exposure during these tests have been greatly exaggerated. Despite the slowing use of CT scans, studies show that those who undergo certain CT scans in the ER have shorter hospital stays and an increased chance of discovering serious conditions, such as Acute Coronary Syndrome. – read the full article from FierceHealthIT

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