CT orders level off as awareness of radiation risk grows

The growth rate in physician ordering of computed tomography scans began to slow between 2005 and 2008 and has flattened since then, according to data from six large HMOs that corroborates trends seen in emergency departments and among Medicare patients.

The trend suggests that research demonstrating a link between radiation exposure from medical testing and cancer is having an impact on how often doctors order CTs as well as how much radiation is used when conducting imaging studies, doctors said. High-profile physician organization educational efforts and cuts in Medicare payment for imaging also have contributed, they said.

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