Managed Care Policies Limit the Diffusion of Medical Technology

Effects of managed care on MRI adoption and use

From 1995 to 1998, researchers at Stanford University looked at how managed care penetration in given geographic areas affected the diffusion and use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a technology that allows physicians to obtain very clear pictures of patients' internal organs and internal structures without invasive procedures.

The investigator analyzed the number of MRI units, the transfer of MRI procedures from in-hospital to out-of-hospital settings, and the volume of MRI procedures in relation to the level of Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) activity in the area.

This project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization (HCFO).

Key Findings

  • The main finding of the project is that managed care is associated with slower adoption and diffusion of MRI.