Early Imaging Reduces Inpatient Costs

 

April 5, 2010

April 5, 2010 - If used early, advanced imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) might shorten the length of a person's hospital stay and decrease costs associated with hospitalization, according to a study in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Inpatient costs represent 18 percent of total healthcare insurance premiums paid, and they continue to grow approximately 8 percent annually, The lead author of the study, Juan Carlos Batlle, M.D., MBA, lead author of the study, cited inpatient costs as 18 percent of total healthcare insurance costs. Dr. Batlle seeks to demonstrate how increased use of modern imaging has been associated with a decrease in other costs of hospitalization, such as length of stay.

The study, performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, included 10,005 hospital admissions that included at least one advanced imaging study during the period from one day prior to admission through discharge. The mean length of stay for abdominal CT exams was 8.4 versus 9.7 days and for neurologic MRI exams it was 7.6 versus 8.7 days.

The researchers concluded early imaging with CT and MRI, particularly on the day before or the day of admission, is associated with significantly shorter length of stay of inpatients compared with patients who had advanced imaging performed later.

For more information: www.acr.org