Growth in Imaging: Will it continue?

Will the rise in advanced imaging modalities such as CT, MRI, and nuclear medicine continue? While the common feeling for the less resourced countries is that it will, as many more patients need access to such imaging than currently available, the recent study from USA has different trends to show.

RSNA 2011 had a poster paper from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia by Dr. Richard Sharpe. He indicated that the recent emphasis on unnecessary radiation exposure and more importantly for USA, the high healthcare costs have captured the attention of policy makers and the press. This is resulting in reduction in growth rate.

The increase rate in CT which was 10% during 2000 to 2006 has now come to 3.4% during 2007 to 2009. Although not related with ionizing radiation, the rate for MRI during the above period falls from +11.7% to -0.7%. The rate for nuclear medicine comes down from +8% to -1.8%.

The overutilization of imaging in USA has been an accepted fact for the past few years.

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