An imaging exam is 34 percent more likely to be prescribed by advance practice clinicians, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, than primary care physicians, finds a study by Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
"There was little difference in image ordering for new patients. However, established patients were considerably more likely to receive imaging if seen by an advanced practice clinician. This may increase in importance as these providers care for more patients in new health care delivery models," said Danny R. Hughes, PhD, research director and senior research fellow of the Neiman Institute.
The study notes that disparities in image ordering will be addressed in the near future by criteria-based clinical decision support systems. The "Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014" requires that all providers consult such systems when ordering advanced imaging for Medicare patients, beginning Jan. 1, 2017.
"Clinical decision support use significantly reduces inappropriate imaging use and its associated costs. Our study suggests that advanced practice clinicians may particularly benefit from these ordering systems, which also educate providers on which exams are best for a patient's condition," said Richard Duszak, MD, chief medical officer and senior research fellow of the Neiman Institute.
This is the latest study by the Neiman Institute, which conducts research regarding medical imaging use, quality and safety metrics, and human resources as medical payment and delivery systems evolve. Data from these efforts is the basis for true, evidence-based medical imaging policy.
For more information on the Neiman Institute, please visit www.neimanhpi.org.
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The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute is one of the nation's leading medical imaging socioeconomic research organizations. The Neiman Institute studies the role and value of radiology and radiologists in evolving health care delivery and payment systems and the impact of medical imaging on the cost, quality, safety, and efficiency of health care.