Curbing the use of medical imaging: Searching for efficient technology utilization in the fee-for-service world

The Foundation's Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research Program was designed to produce major works from senior and new investigators that would add to the health policy field's knowledge base.High-tech diagnostic imaging equipment is now available in hospitals, imaging centers, large multi-specialty group practices, and more types of doctors' offices than ever before. While this has made things easier for physicians and patients, it has also produced rapid growth in medical expenditures for scans and contributed to the overall rise in U.S. health care spending. Although medical professionals generally agree that imaging's rapid growth includes significant waste due to overuse, scientific evidence is lacking on which imaging is unnecessary. This project seeks to better understand the drivers of the rapid growth in spending for imaging and the ways that waste might be identified. The researcher's Investigator Award project, Curbing the Use of Medical Imaging - Searching for Efficient Technology Utilization in a Fee-for-Service World, analyzes spending growth and examines initiatives by health care organizations to define and limit unnecessary imaging and to influence physician behavior. It is noted that this "soft rationing" -- limiting medical expenditures and unnecessary procedures through strategies such as prior authorization requirements and physician profiling -- may also become important in other areas of health care. The research findings should help inform efforts to contain the growth and costs of imaging as well as other medical procedures.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $334,921.00

Awarded on: 8/13/2008

Time frame: 9/1/2008 - 2/28/2015

Grant Number: 63908


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, 02139-4307


Frank Levy
Project Director