February 4, 2009 – The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) endorses policies that ensure medical imaging is utilized appropriately and that unnecessary scans are reduced.
The study by Jörg Hausleiter, M.D., in the February 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association correctly focuses on what providers need to know to ensure that computed tomography angiography (CCTA) is utilized appropriately.
Criteria to ensure appropriate usage of medical imaging as developed by medical professional societies is the most effective way to ensure that patients get the right scan at the right time. MITA endorses widespread adoption of appropriateness criteria and is encouraged that leading private health systems, such as Massachusetts General Hospital and United Health Care, are currently using or piloting it to guide the proper utilization of medical imaging technology.
MITA also supports efforts to harness health information technology (IT) to reduce duplicative scans and unnecessary risk to radiation exposure. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to develop interoperable imaging exchange standards so that health IT can contribute to realizing the imaging community’s goal of reducing radiation exposure.
Even with the collective efforts to reduce radiation exposure, it’s important to point out that CCTA, when used appropriately, minimizes other risks that more invasive procedures present to patients. Moreover, peer-reviewed research proves that CCTA is more cost effective than catheterization for some cardiac patients.
We also support the recent recommendation of the American Heart Association that healthcare providers should diligently review patient records, including those from other medical institutions, to ensure that imaging studies are not needlessly repeated.
When patients receive the right scan at the right time, patient outcomes are improved and healthcare costs are reduced. Researchers at Harvard Medical School have demonstrated that every $1 spent on inpatient imaging translates into approximately $3 in total savings.
For more information: www.medicalimaging.org