Private imaging facilitiesgrew at hospitals' expense

April 1, 2009

Use of noninvasive diagnostic imaging at private imaging facilities between 1996 and 2006 skyrocketed while hospitals' share of the imaging market fell, according to a Thomas Jefferson University study.

Use of noninvasive diagnostic imaging at private imaging facilities between 1996 and 2006 skyrocketed while hospitals' share of the imaging market fell, according to a Thomas Jefferson University study. Findings suggest hospitals failed to adjust to a booming imaging market. Dr. David C. Levin and colleagues examined nationwide Medicare Part B databases from 1996 to 2006 comparing noninvasive diagnostic imaging codes with place-of-service codes. They found NDI utilization rates per 1000 patients increased at all four places of service: hospital inpatient, hospital outpatient, private office, and emergency department. While hospital outpatient facilities and private offices saw increases of 25% and 63%, respectively, the rate for hospital inpatients grew only 15%. ER utilization rates were lower than in the other places, but their growth was fastest at 77% (J Am Coll Radiol 2009;6:96-99).