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Computerized System Reduces Growth of Medical Imaging

Last Updated: April 01, 2009.

Implementing a computerized order entry and decision support system reduces the growth rate in the usage of outpatient advanced imaging, researchers report in the April issue of Radiology.

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Implementing a computerized order entry and decision support system reduces the growth rate in the usage of outpatient advanced imaging, researchers report in the April issue of Radiology.

Chris L. Sistrom, M.D., from the University of Florida Health Center in Gainesville, and colleagues retrospectively compared the volume of outpatient advanced imaging before, during and after implementation of a computerized radiology order entry and decision support system over a seven-year period. The radiology order entry system allowed referring physicians to request and schedule outpatient diagnostic imaging studies, while the decision support system provided an appropriateness score based on clinical indication.

The researchers found that after implementation of these systems, there was a significant decrease in quarterly compound growth rates for computed tomography (3.0 to 0.25 percent = 2.75 percent), MRI (2.9 to 1.7 percent = 1.2 percent) and ultrasonography (2.2 to 0.9 percent = 1.3 percent). Quarterly volume growth also fell by 274 for computed tomography and by 98 for ultrasonograpy. The reductions occurred despite steady increases in outpatient visits, the authors note.

"In conclusion, we have demonstrated significant and substantial decreases in the growth rate of outpatient diagnostic computed tomography, MRI and ultrasonography examination volume in our large urban academic health center, despite continued steady growth in outpatient visit activity," Sistrom and colleagues write.

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