Navigation Links
Self-referral spurs unnecessary MRI exams for patients
Date:9/16/2013

OAK BROOK, Ill. Patients having knee MRI examinations are significantly more likely to receive a negative finding if referred by physicians who have a financial interest in the imaging equipment being used, according to a study published online in the journal Radiology.

Imaging self-referral, whereby a non-radiologist physician refers their own patients for imaging to facilities in which they or their partners have a financial interest, is a growing trend in medicine and a significant driver of healthcare costs. Medical imaging self-referral leads to higher utilization and unnecessary imaging examinations.

"Our study was the first to examine one of the most common advanced outpatient imaging studies ordered in the United States today: orthopedic knee MRI," said Matthew P. Lungren, M.D., co-director of the Interventional Radiology Translational Research Lab at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "In our work, we were able not only to evaluate the outcome of the knee MRI examinations ordered by physicians with financial interest in the imaging equipment, but to compare this to another matched referral physician group that had no financial stake in the imaging equipment."

From 2004 through 2010, the number of self-referred MRI services increased by more than 80 percent, compared with an increase of 12 percent for non-self-referred MRI services. Likewise, the growth rate of expenditures for self-referred MRI services was also higher than for non-self-referred MRI services, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. It is estimated that in 2010, providers who self-referred made as many as 400,000 more referrals for advanced imaging services than they would have if they were not self-referring, costing Medicare about $109 million.

For the study, researchers reviewed 700 consecutive diagnostic knee exams from 667 patients to determine if ownership of MRI equipment by ordering physicians affected the likelihood of positive findings, and they evaluated the pathology rates as a metric for comparison of utilization. The exams had been interpreted by one radiology practice between January and April 2009 and referred by two separate physician groups serving the same geographic community. The first group had financial interest in the MRI equipment used (FI group), and the second had no financial interest in the equipment used (NFI group).

For each group, the research team analyzed the percentage of negative exams and the frequency of each type of abnormalities found on positive exams.

The results showed that among the 700 MRI exams (350 per group), there was no significant difference in the number of abnormalities per positive scan between the two groups. However, the researchers found that knee MRI exams ordered by the FI group were 33 percent more likely to be negative, indicating a significantly higher number of potentially unnecessary exams. Of the 205 negative exams, 117 belonged to the FI group, compared to 88 for the NFI group. In the FI group, 33 percent of patients referred for exams had negative scan results, compared to 25 percent of the NFI group.

"This occurred despite otherwise highly similar pathology, demographics and referring physician characteristics between the two groups," Dr. Lungren said. "These findings suggest that there is a different threshold for ordering MRI examinations which may be due to financial incentive."

Dr. Lungren added that self-referral has been shown to be an important driver of escalating medical costs, and that this study has demonstrated powerful evidence of greater use of high-tech imaging when physicians can financially benefit.

"This increase in unnecessary costs is of paramount importance in the current national conversation regarding health care cost and implementation," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. RSNA: Self-Referral Spurs Unnecessary MRI Exams for Patients
2. ASTRO applauds new GAO report on physician self-referral abuse
3. ASTRO Chairman Michael Steinberg, M.D., FASTRO, reaffirms Societys commitment to ending self-referral
4. Urology-owned radiation oncology self-referral can increase patients travel distance for treatment
5. Public Funding Spurs Couples to Seek Fertility Treatment
6. Oxygen Therapy Spurs Recovery in Some Stroke Patients
7. Too Little Sleep Spurs Appetite-Boosting Hormones: Study
8. Fatal bridge collapse spurs new, affordable, instant warnings
9. Standard radiation therapy dose provides pain relief for painful heel spurs
10. Inflammatory pathway spurs cancer stem cells to resist HER2-targeted breast cancer treatment
11. Sharing data with providers associated with plummeting rates of unnecessary medical tests in Sweden
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/19/2017)... ... May 19, 2017 , ... In a continuous effort to ... a luxury online mattress company that specializes in natural and organic latex mattresses, has ... autism organization) for every unique share their recent viral Facebook video receives, ...
(Date:5/19/2017)... ... May 19, 2017 , ... Springfield, Vermont-based law firm ... Titled " Ten Good Reasons To Hire An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney, " the ... an accident or injury. As the article says. if someone is injured due ...
(Date:5/19/2017)... ... May 19, 2017 , ... SyncDog, Inc. , ... session at the 7th Annual ET6 Exchange (formerly M6 xChange), the ... transformation conference whose expressed purpose is to connect mobile technology end users with ...
(Date:5/19/2017)... ... May 18, 2017 , ... ... who served eight American presidents of both political parties, will become the 9th ... General Colin L. Powell, USA (Retired) as Chairman in May, 2018. , Secretary ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 18, 2017 , ... ... today announced the acquisition of English Mountain Recovery. Located in Sevierville, Tennessee ... Summit’s first facility in the state and brings the Company’s total number of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2017)... and SAN DIEGO , May ... Gynecologists (ACOG) 2017 Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting— OBP ... illuminating medical devices, today announced the launch of a ... OfficeSPEC and ER-SPEC vaginal specula. ... of extra-small and extra-large sizes makes OBP Medical,s line ...
(Date:5/3/2017)... , May 3, 2017  Kalorama Information notes ... nine percent next year and this is projected ... hematopoietic stem cell (HSCT) or bone marrow transplants ... technologies are well-suited for this task. This according ... publisher Kalorama Information. The various PCR-based methodologies, Sanger ...
(Date:5/2/2017)...  CIVCO Radiotherapy, the leading provider of high ... Nat Geissel has been named president. ... has served as vice president of marketing and ... manager, and most recently, executive vice president and ... of what CIVCO Radiotherapy and its predecessors have ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: