A study published in the November 14 issue of Radiology punched a hole in the theory that self-referring radiologists drive up medical costs through follow-up exams.
The study looks at nearly 30,000 high-cost examinations for chest and abdominal computed tomography (CT), brain and lumbar spine magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and body positron emission tomography. Researchers found just 5.3 percent followed a radiologists examination.
“Chest CT was the high-cost examination most often resulting from a radiologist’s recommendation, followed by abdominal CT and brain MR imaging,” according to the abstract. “The most common findings resulting in follow-up were pulmonary nodules or masses.”