Latest IMV CT Survey Shows Hospitals Gain CT Procedures at Imaging Centers’ Expense

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According to IMV Medical Information Division’s recent survey of CT sites in the U.S., an estimated 81.9 million CT procedures were performed in 8,180 hospital and non-hospital sites in 2010. This represents an average annual growth rate of approximately 6% since 2007, when an estimated 68.7 million procedures were performed.

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Despite operational pressures, CT scanners are still a workhorse modality for radiology departments.

According to IMV Medical Information Division’s recent survey of CT sites in the U.S., an estimated 81.9 million CT procedures were performed in 8,180 hospital and non-hospital sites in 2010. This represents an average annual growth rate of approximately 6% since 2007, when an estimated 68.7 million procedures were performed.

"This 6% annual growth rate for CT utilization demonstrates the key role that CT plays in diagnosing patient conditions," observed Lorna Young, senior director, market research. "While CT departments are focused on operational concerns such as preauthorization of procedures and addressing public concerns with radiation dose, CT is still considered to be an essential diagnostic tool."

Survey respondents were asked their perspectives on department priorities over the next year. While improving the capability to reduce radiation dose to patients was rated as "5-very important" for 77% of the respondents’ department priorities (using a five-point rating scale), respondents did not feel this is having much impact on the growth of CT procedures; only 9% gave "5-totally agree" ratings that "patient and public concerns over radiation dose will slow the growth of CT procedures" at their facility.

The survey also found that 55% of CT procedures performed in 2010 were contrast-enhanced, including injectable and oral contrast, down from 67% of the procedures performed in 2007.

"It appears that CT departments are trying to reduce the frequency of using contrast media, as well as the contrast dose per patient," Young said. "Despite these operational pressures, CT scanners are still a workhorse modality for radiology departments."

The survey also shows that imaging managers in freestanding imaging centers (not owned by hospital organizations) are feeling financial pressure due to reduced reimbursements from Medicare and third-party payors. When asked what issues are affecting their future outlook, the top-rated issue for both hospitals and imaging centers is "reductions in Medicare and third-party reimbursements are causing CT revenue to decline," but imaging center managers are more likely to rate this as a top issue than hospital radiology administrators are.

"Hospitals are also experiencing increased patient volume per CT scanner, while utilization at imaging centers not owned by hospitals is lower than for CT services operated by hospitals," Young said.

IMV's 2011 "CT Market Outlook Report" describes trends in procedure utilization, the CT installed base and purchase plans, power injectors, contrast media utilization and budgets, and site operations characteristics. In this report, IMV also provides market scenarios for CT unit purchases from 2011 through 2015.

Highlights include:

  • CT angiography procedures are performed by nearly three-quarters of the CT sites.
  • Nearly half (46%) of the CTs installed in 2010 were multislice CTs with 64+ slices. Going forward, of those planning to purchase CT scanners from 2011 through 2013, more than one-quarter are planning to purchase CTs with greater than 64 slices.
  • Based on respondent estimates, the average replacement cycle for a CT unit is 8.3 years.
  • The CT OEM is the primary source of service support for 71% of the installed CTs, followed by third-party service organizations (14%), in-house service (10%), and "other CT manufacturers" (2%).

IMV's "2011 CT Market Outlook Report" is based on the responses from 421 radiology administrators/managers nationwide. Their responses have been projected to the universe of 8,180 short-term general hospitals and imaging centers in the United States that have fixed CT scanners, as identified by IMV. For more information about IMV’s report, visit the corporate website at http://www.imvinfo.com or call 847-297-1404 to speak with a representative.

IMV Medical Information Division is a marketing research and consulting firm founded in 1977, specializing in medical imaging and other advanced healthcare technology markets. IMV's marketing consulting services, in combination with its databases of U.S. imaging sites with selected modalities, provide clients valuable assistance in strategic planning, customer satisfaction, product development, and sales initiatives.

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