Physicians attempt to control imaging costs

Overuse of high cost imaging, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), and positron emission tomography (PET) scans and computed tomography (CT) scans, have become a growing concern for policy makers, according to an article by Reuters. 

Reuters reports that two common reasons for overuse are doctors referring patients for scans at their own imaging facilities to make a profit, and doctors who order tests because patients request them in order to protect against lawsuits.

Improved communication between doctors and radiologists, as well as decision support tools that help doctors select appropriate tests, such as those used at Massachusetts General Hospital, can help curb the overuse of imaging. 

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, August 25, 2010; Reuters, http://www.reuters.com, August 24, 2010)