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Report: CT utilization grows 6 percent per year

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | June 10, 2011
Most installed computed tomography scanners are serviced by OEMs, CT equipment is replaced just under once a decade, and the rate of CT utilization has grown around 6 percent yearly since 2007.

These were some of the findings of an IMV market survey on CT utilization trends released Friday.

According to the Des Plaines, Ill.-based medical market research firm's projections, an estimated 82 million CT procedures were performed last year. That's up from the estimated 69 million scans performed in 2007.
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"While CT departments are focused on operational concerns such as pre-authorization of procedures and addressing public concerns with radiation dose, CT is still considered to be an essential diagnostic tool," Lorna Young, senior director of market research with IMV, said in a statement.

The report also found that providers were feeling the squeeze from diminished Medicare and private payer reimbursements. The decline in CT revenue from reimbursement reductions was the top-rated concern for both imaging centers and hospitals, although, as expected, this was a bigger concern for imaging center managers than hospital department administrators, IMV said.

Although most of the radiology department and imaging center managers who responded to the survey said taking steps to reduce radiation dose to patients was "very important" (77 percent gave it a 5 on a 5-point scale), fewer than one in 10 gave a "fully agree," 5-point rating to the statement that public concern about radiation would slow CT procedure growth.

Other findings include:

• Contrast media use for CT is falling, with 55 percent of CT procedures in 2010 contrast-enhanced, compared with 67 percent in 2007.

• Forty-six percent of installed CTs in 2010 were CTs with 64 slices or more. Over the next two years, at least 25 percent of would-be CT purchasers plan on buying a unit with more than 64 slices.

• The average replacement cycle for CT scanners is 8.3 years, according to survey estimates.

• OEMs are the primary service providers, servicing 71 percent of their installed CT units. Independent service organizations are second with 14 percent of units, followed by in-house at 10 percent and "other CT manufacturers" at 2 percent.

The 2011 CT Market Outlook Report was based on responses from 421 radiology administrators or managers, and then extrapolated to the 8,180 short-term general hospitals and imaging centers with fixed CT scanners, IMV said.

IMV's medical information division was founded in 1977.

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