According to a study published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR), large majorities of primary care physicians believe that advanced medical imaging, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), provides considerable value to patient care.
A national survey of 500 primary care physicians was conducted using an online self-administered questionnaire. Study results showed that primary care physicians overwhelmingly indicated that advanced imaging:
- Increases their diagnostic confidence
- Provides data not otherwise available
- Permits better clinical decisions
- Increases confidence in treatment choices
- Shortens time to definitive diagnosis
Primary care physicians whose careers predated the widespread availability of advanced medical imaging tended to associate it with even higher value.
“Primary care physicians are patients’ main point of contact with the health care system and often the end users of the information that radiologists provide. The fact that they consider imaging of such high importance shows just how vital these technologies are for quality patient care,” said lead author of the study Christine M. Hughes of the Hadley Hart Group.
“As this study demonstrates, the overall ability of advanced medical imaging to facilitate rapid and accurate diagnoses has contributed to PCPs’ perception of its value,” said Richard Duszak, MD, co-author of the study and chief medical officer and senior research fellow of the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute. “Advanced medical imaging facilitates patient triage, and for sicker patients, decreases the frequency of exploratory surgery, and shortens hospital lengths of stay. And PCPs clearly recognize that,” said Duszak.