Latest Commentary

Over-imaging of children: The discouraging pattern continues

Last year, a study published in JAMA Pediatrics evaluated the use of CT scans between 1996 and 2010 in children younger than 15 years and found that between 1996 and 2005 the use of CT doubled among children younger than 5 years old, and almost tripled for older children. The good news in that study was that even though the rate of CT imaging on children remained high, it declined in the period between 2005 and 2010. It seemed that efforts to reduce children's exposure to ionizing radiation through campaigns like Image Gently were having an effect.

That's why the results of new research out of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, reported in this week's issue of FierceMedicalImaging, are so discouraging.

 

How appropriate are ACR's appropriateness criteria?

Back in the 1990s the American College of Radiology began a huge project to define the appropriate use of different imaging technologies. This effort--the ACR Appropriateness Criteria--is continually updated and covers all medical procedures, helping healthcare providers conduct the most appropriate medical imaging exam for a patient's clinical condition. Recent research shows us, however, that some work still needs to be done when it comes to the use of appropriateness criteria. 

 

Cardiac imaging: Educating physicians and empowering patients

Today, cardiac imaging accounts for about 40 percent of patient radiology exposure, and there have been concerns expressed that many cardiologists haven't been fully aware of the risks associated with ionizing radiation and cardiac imaging. In this week's issue of FierceMedicalImaging we report on research that further illustrates the impact cardiac imaging can have on patient radiation exposure. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that the overuse of cardiac stress testing over the course of nearly two decades has resulted in the performance of about 1 million unnecessary tests (most of them conduced with imaging) at a cost of about half a billion dollars.

Are physicians overpaid for performing colonoscopies?

Last year the New York Times created quite a media storm with an article in which it reported on colonoscopies that ranged in price--depending on the location--from $7,563.56 to $19,438 (including a polyp removal).

Choosing Wisely for radiology: More than a conversation starter

When the Choosing Wisely campaign was launched in 2012, the stated goal of the initiative was to "spark conversation" about the necessity of certain frequently ordered tests and treatments. Currently, we are seeing evidence that Choosing Wisely recommendations--many of which are related to radiology and medical imaging--are, indeed, having an impact.

Unnecessary imaging: Solving a multibillion-dollar problem

Earlier this month, research company peer60 published a report--as described in FierceMedicalImaging--which calculated that as much as $12 billion is wasted every year on unnecessary imaging. The...

Medicare and LDCT lung cancer screening--evidence mounts for coverage

Last December, when the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended low-dose CT (LDCT) lung cancer screening for high-risk smokers, it was all but a foregone conclusion that the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) would follow suit and recommend it to be covered by Medicare. Of course, that narrative took a different turn this past April when MEDCAC voted not to recommend LDCT screening, much to the dismay of lung cancer screening advocates.

But now, two recent studies seem have supplied evidence that supports lung cancer screening for Medicare patients.

Why CMS should reimburse for secondary imaging interpretations

The comment period for the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule ended last week and radiology and imaging-related organizations expressed their concerns about a number of issues, such as the potential for significant reimbursement reductions in radiation oncology services. One area of particular interest to these organizations has to do with the payment for the secondary interpretation of images.

Virtual colonoscopy coverage: Time to end the short shrift

 If Cologuard can win approval and gain traction on the path to reimbursement, why not virtual colonoscopy (CT colonograpy)?

Cancer screening wonder: Skepticism taking over

The introduction of mammography and colonoscopy back in the 1960s helped introduce an "age of wonder" for cancer screening that correlated with a significant drop in mortality rates, according to Cary Gross, M.D., of Yale Medical School. Conversely, according to Gross, the 21st Century has launched a new age of wonder in the sense that people are now wondering how beneficial cancer screening actually is.