Study: Rate of CT Imaging in Emergency Departments Up 227% From 2000-2008

The utilization rate of imaging in emergency departments increased dramatically from 2000-2008, with the most growth occurring in CT, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Researchers queried the Medicare Part B databases for 2000-2008 for imaging examinations on ED patients. They found that the overall utilization rate per 1,000 beneficiaries for all ED imaging increased 60 percent, whereas the CT rate increased 227 percent from 2000 to 2008. In addition, CT accounted for 14 percent of all ED imaging in 2000 but more than doubled to 29 percent by 2008. Radiography and ultrasound utilization rates also saw growth in this time frame, increasing 29 percent and 95 percent, respectively.

The authors suggested hospitals may expect radiologists to work more closely with ED physicians to use more clinical rules and appropriateness criteria to limit imaging growth.

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