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Medical Imaging


Medical imaging is common and frequently performed in the healthcare setting. It is important in diagnosing disease, establishing prognosis, and monitoring therapy. The Quality and Safety of outpatient imaging studies are important. These measures address the appropriate and efficient use of diagnostic imaging, including both quality and cost.

Exposure to radiation and other risks should be as low as possible. For example, MRI’s can be helpful for diagnosing low back pain, but too many MRI’s put patients at risk of over exposure. If a mammogram comes back for signs of breast cancer, follow-up is important. Combination scans involve additional radiation exposure and risks associated with use of contrast.

These Imaging Efficiency measures only apply to Medicare patients in a hospital outpatient setting. Here, each individual facility at Norton Healthcare shares the same performance as a system.

Use of Medical Imaging - % of Medicare hospital outpatients
% of outpatients with low back pain who had an MRI of the lumbar spine without trying recommended treatment first, such as physical therapy. (If a number is high, it may mean the facility is doing too many unnecessary MRI's for low back pain.) Includes patients who had an MRI of the Lumbar Spine with a diagnosis of low back pain without claims based evidence of antecedent conservative therapy. Excludes Lumbar Spine MRI studies without a diagnosis related to low back pain. Studies are limited to the outpatient place of service.(CMS / OP 8) with low back pain who had an MRI without prior conservative therapy low 35.50 35.50 35.50 35.50   35.50 38.90 35.50
% of outpatients who got cardiac imaging stress tests before low-risk outpatient surgery. (If a number is high, it may mean the hospital outpatient imaging department may be giving people more tests than they need). Includes number of Stress Echocardiography, SPECT MPI and Stress MRI studies performed at the hospital outpatient department within 30 days of ambulatory low-risk non-cardiac surgery performed at any location (i.e., other hospital, physician office).(CMS / OP 13) who got cardiac imaging stress tests before low-risk outpatient surgery low 4.7 4.7 4.7 4.7   4.7 5.3 5.3
Use of Medical Imaging - % of Medicare outpatient CT studies
outpatient CT scans of the abdomen that were combination (double) scans. (The range for this measure is 0 to 1. A number very close to 1 may mean that too many patients are being given a double scan when a single scan is all they need.) Includes the number of Abdomen CT studies with and without contrast (combined studies). Excludes patients with diagnoses related to unspecified disorder of kidney and ureter, hematuria, pancreatic disorders, adrenal mass, malignant neoplasms of liver and intrahepatic bile ducts, and neoplasms of the pancreas, kidney, and liver. Our numbers do not match what is publicly displayed on Hospital Compare as we are displaying a more recent time frame.(CMS / OP 10) where the abdomen was scanned twice low 0.04 0.03 0.23 0.09   0.1 0.11 0.11
outpatient CT scans of the chest that were combination (double) scans. (The range for this measure is 0 to 1. A number very close to 1 may mean that too many patients are being given a double scan when a single scan is all they need.) Includes the number of thorax CT studies with and without contrast (combined studies). Our numbers do not match what is publicly displayed on Hospital Compare for two reasons: 1, we are displaying a more recent time frame; 2, we found inaccuracies in our old data and are in the process of correcting them.(CMS / OP 11) where the chest was scanned twice low 0.01 0.01 0.01 0Quality Ribbon   0.01 0.04 0.03
% of outpatients with brain CT scans who got a sinus CT scan at the same time. (If a number is high, it may mean the hospital outpatient imaging department may be giving people more tests than they need, exposing them to too much radiation). Includes number of studies with simultaneous Sinus CT study (i.e., on the same date, at the same facility as the Brain CT).(CMS / OP 14) with brain CT scans who got a sinus scan at the same time low 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5   2.5 3.1 2.7

The following set of indicators do not have a desired direction.

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