Minnesota physicians consult computer to order imaging tests

Thousands of physicians in Minnesota are using a computer program to tell them when high cost imaging is appropriate, according to an article in the Star Tribune.

According to the article, physicians enter information about an individual patient, and a computer using national guidelines tells them if a CT scan or MRI is a good choice, or if there is a better alternative.

It is estimated that the state has saved $28 million this year by eliminating unnecessary tests.  The program will be launched statewide in 2011.

(Sources: The Star Tribune, November 9, 2010; The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, November 17, 2010)