Survey Finds Cardiac Imaging Utilization Down for Cardiologists


Cardiac imaging test being performedAccording to a survey of cardiologists conducted last year by MedAxiom and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC), cardiologists saw 29 percent more patients since 2004, yet performed fewer cardiac imaging tests.

The survey revealed that these tests were performed on one of every 11 cardiology patients in 2011, as opposed to one of every seven in 2008. The data came from more than 110 practices, representing more than 2,000 cardiologists. On average, each cardiologist recorded more than 2,100 patient visits.

The survey results confirm that cardiologists are leading the way in providing patients with modern technology-based treatment that delivers enhanced image quality while reducing radiation exposure.

Radiation Optimization Factor in Reduced Cardiac Imaging

One of the five factors that likely combined to reduce the use of cardiac imaging tests was increased awareness of radiation optimization. The ASNC has challenged the nuclear cardiology community to reduce radiation exposure below 9 millisieverts (mSv) by 2014.

An enterprise imaging system, which contains electronic records of all the imaging procedures, can help to reduce repetition in cardiac imaging tests. Today’s complex cardiovascular imaging and information environment requires an integrated, enterprise-wide solution that improves the quality of care, boosts efficiencies and reduces costs by providing quick, easy access to comprehensive clinical data. It’s more important than ever to implement a Cardiovascular Information System (CVIS) infrastructure that will bring patient information to the point of care.

The Proof is in the Pudding

One Canadian hospital is proving that, through a combination of advanced cardiac imaging techniques and state- of-the-art software, radiation exposure can be minimized. The University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) announced it has reduced radiation in the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. Two-thirds of the Ottawa Heart Institute’s Nuclear Cardiology patients are currently receiving half the radiation dosage that they would normally get. Radiation reduction techniques have been achieved across all types of radiation-based cardiac imaging — nuclear, CT and PET.

Providing quality healthcare and wellness promotion to the community is a vital function of any hospital. Making the commitment to IT technology sends a message to the community that a hospital is dedicated to providing the best possible healthcare to their patients.

Has your organization seen a reduction in cardiac imaging tests? If so, I encourage you to share your thoughts on why you feel these tests are being reduced, via a comment below.

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