Online scans spur more scans.
Having computerized images at hand was associated with a 40%-70%
greater likelihood that an imaging test would be ordered, according to a
study in the journal Health Affairs that challenges the widely held
assumption that having computer access to patients' test results
will reduce testing. The researchers analyzed data from 1,187 physician
offices, and found that physicians with access to electronic imaging
ordered imaging in 18% of visits, compared with 13% in offices without
such access. Our efforts should at a minimum raise questions about the
whole idea that computerization decreases test ordering, and therefore
costs, in the real world of outpatient practice," the study's
lead author, Dr Danny McCormick of Harvard Medical School, Boston, said
in a statement.