Legislation can reduce unwarranted imaging

September 13, 2010
Diagnostic Imaging, Diagnostic Imaging Vol 32 No 9, Volume 32, Issue 9

Introducing legislative fiats into clinical medicine should not be done lightly, but can be effective in reducing overutilization, according to an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Introducing legislative fiats into clinical medicine should not be done lightly, but can be effective in reducing overutilization, according to an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2010;304:208-209).

Alternatives such as tort reform and payment system reform should be considered in parallel, but the issues of quality control and overprescribing in medical imaging need to be addressed and legislation is best suited to do that, said the authors. David Brenner, Ph.D., from the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University, and Dr. Hedvig Hricak, from the radiology department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and current president of the RSNA, wrote the editorial.

“Voluntary standards have not been ineffective, but the positive mammography experience in transitioning from voluntary to mandatory standards demonstrates that legislation can be much more effective in improved quality control,” they wrote.

Therefore, legislation would reduce the current high level of medically unwarranted imaging studies, they said.