Private imaging facilitiesgrew at hospitals' expense

April 1, 2009
Volume 31, Issue 4

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).