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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Knowing the Cost Does Not Affect Number of MRI Tests Ordered by Doctors

A new study published in the Journal of American College of Radiology reports researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that the knowledge of the cost of conducting an MRI has no bearing on the number of tests ordered by doctors for their hospitalized patients.

 Knowing the Cost Does Not Affect Number of MRI Tests Ordered by Doctors


"Cost alone does not seem to be the determining factor in deciding to go ahead with an expensive radiographic test," says the study's senior author, Daniel J. Brotman, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the hospitalist program at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. "There is definitely an over-ordering of tests in this country, and we can make better decisions about whether our patients truly need each test we order for them. But when it comes to big-ticket tests like MRI, it appears the doctors have already decided they need to know the information, regardless of the cost of the test."


Read more: Knowing the Cost Does Not Affect Number of MRI Tests Ordered by Doctors | Medindia http://www.medindia.net/news/knowing-the-cost-does-not-affect-number-of-mri-tests-ordered-by-doctors-113433-1.htm#ixzz2iVEiTHYv


There are built-in disincentives to ordering many major tests if they are not necessary, such as the potential danger of radiation used in some, Brotman says. In addition to making physicians more sensitive to the costliness of unnecessary testing, Brotman says they need to learn how to explain to patients why they may not need them.

For the study, Brotman and his colleagues identified the 10 imaging tests most frequently ordered for patients at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dividing the tests into two groups, they made sure prices were attached to one group over a six-month period, from November 2009 to May 2010. Brotman and his colleagues left out the pricing information for the other group over the same time period. Prices are not typically shared with physicians or patients in most medical settings.

When the researchers compared the ordering rates to the rates from a six-month period a year earlier, when no costs were displayed at all, they found no significant difference in ordering patterns.

Read more: Knowing the Cost Does Not Affect Number of MRI Tests Ordered by Doctors | Medindia http://www.medindia.net/news/knowing-the-cost-does-not-affect-number-of-mri-tests-ordered-by-doctors-113433-1.htm#ixzz2iVFfG15N

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