Rising use of diagnostic medical imaging in a large integrated health system

Rebecca Smith-Bindman, Diana L Miglioretti, Eric B. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

386 Scopus citations


Little has been published characterizing specific patterns of the dramatic rise in diagnostic imaging during the past decade. In a large health plan, 377,048 patients underwent 4.9 million diagnostic tests from 1997 through 2006. Cross-sectional imaging nearly doubled over those years, rising from 260 to 478 examinations per thousand enrollees per year. Imaging with computed tomography (CT) doubled, and imaging with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tripled. Cross-sectional studies added to existing studies instead of replacing them, and the annual per enrollee cost of radiology imaging more than doubled. The dramatic rise in imaging raises both costs and radiation exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1491-1502
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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