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Types of procedures performed by diagnostic radiology practices: past patterns and future directions

Types of procedures performed by diagnostic radiology practices: past patterns and future directions

Ajr. American Journal of Roentgenology 183(5): 1193-1201

The purpose of our study was to determine the types of imaging procedures performed by diagnostic radiology practices and the patterns and differences related to practice characteristics. The American College of Radiology (ACR) surveyed 970 practices by mail, using a 65-item questionnaire, in 1999. A response rate of 66% was achieved. Weighting was used to make responses representative of all radiology practices in the United States. Trends were explored by making comparisons with data from a 1991-1992 ACR study. Among the types of procedures studied, the highest percentage of multiradiologist diagnostic-radiology-only practices performed mammography (95%) and sonography (94%). (General conventional radiography and fluoroscopy were not studied.) The lowest percentage of these practices performed interventional procedures (69%) and MRI (77%). Solo practices showed less diversity in types of procedures performed than did multiradiologist practices and were a good deal less likely to perform each type of procedure except mammography and sonography. Generally, higher percentages of practices in nonmetropolitan cities or towns and rural practices performed various types of procedures than practices in metropolitan areas. Practice size, types of settings served (hospital or nonhospital), and practice type also influenced the number of types of procedures performed by a practice. The fraction of practices performing CT decreased from 91% to 83% between 1991-1992 and 1999. Percentages for other types of procedures were generally stable over time. Certain practice characteristics play a role in determining the types of imaging procedures a diagnostic radiology practice performs. The decline in the percentage of practices providing CT and the failure during the 1990s of percentages for MRI and interventional radiology to increase from a relatively low base is worrisome. Future analyses based on a subsequent ACR survey will provide further insights into trends.

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Accession: 050875105

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PMID: 15505277

DOI: 10.2214/ajr.183.5.1831193

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