Report: Positive ROI from breast tomosynthesis

About 85 percent of providers who are using breast tomosynthesis say the technology has given them a positive return on investment, according to a survey of 44 hologic tomosynthesis customers taken by Orem, Utah-based research firm KLAS.

In the report, "Breast Tomosynthesis 2013: The Business Case," report author Monique Rasband found that the positive ROI was being achieved despite concerns about the extra time it takes to perform an examination with tomosynthesis, as well as costs associated with issues of data storage.

Eighty-nine percent of respondents said ROI was being achieved by attracting new patients and referrals, as well as through less direct methods. For example, 39 percent pointed out there were fewer callbacks for false positives with tomosynthesis, and 11 percent mentioned that ROI at their practice was being helped through increased patient satisfaction. More than 50 percent of providers reported that their workflow was positively impacted by tomosynthesis.

All but one of the respondents said they would buy tomosynthesis technology again.

Reimbursement issues remain a concern with tomosynthesis, though. Only 25 percent of respondents said they were reimbursed for tomosynthesis above the standard mammo reimbursement. About 37 percent said they were directly charging for tomosynthesis, and a majority of those respondents said they charge less than $100 for the procedure. According to Rasband, reimbursement for the procedure from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or private insurers is problematic because there is no standard for billing tomosynthesis.

That said, many providers reported they are finding cancers they wouldn't have seen with standard digital mammography, Rasband said, offsetting concerns about reimbursement issues.

Research published in January in the journal Radiology found that breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, combined with conventional breast imaging, increases cancer detection. Additionally, research published last November in Radiology found that adding tomosynthesis to standard digital mammography increases diagnostic accuracy while reducing false positive recall rates.

To learn more:
- read a description of the report
- see the report announcement