1 Changing the Landscape How Medical Imaging Has Transformed Health Care in the U.S.
3 Changing the Landscape How Medical Imaging Has Transformed Health Care in the U.S. December 2006 Prepared by Polidais LLC For the National Electrical Manufacturers Association NEMA 2006
4 Medical imaging has transformed medicine. It has dramatically changed how physicians measure, manage, diagnose, treat, and even think about medical illnesses and conditions.
5 Changing the Landscape How Medical Imaging Has Transformed Health Care in the U.S. Executive Summary Medical imaging has transformed medicine. It has dramatically changed how physicians measure, manage, diagnose, treat, and even think about medical illnesses and conditions. The result is seismic change in the landscape of U.S. health care in how and where care is delivered, in the quality of care, and in the structure of the health delivery system. Medical imaging has transformed medicine because innovations have made imaging faster, more precise, and less invasive. This has led to broader use of imaging for more conditions and for more patients. While imaging was once thought of primarily as a diagnostic tool, today it is also used on the front line of treating, managing, and even predicting disease. Medical imaging has become essential for virtually all major medical conditions and diseases. It is a standard of modern medical care for cancer, stroke, heart disease, trauma, and neurological conditions, among others. It is used by a wide range of medical specialists, from oncologists to internists. The broad applicability of medical imaging has increased its growth. This is a logical consequence of physicians integrating imaging into the standard treatment patterns for more conditions, settings, and patient groups. To ascribe this growth primarily to financial motives of medical providers ignores these deep, patient-centered changes. Medical imaging is growing at roughly the same rates as other areas of health spending. Unfortunately, the off-setting savings created by imaging through less-invasive care, quicker recovery, and fewer complications are overlooked in assessments of growth in imaging spending. Understanding the transformation that medical imaging has brought about is important in understanding why imaging use is growing. Policy changes that single-mindedly attempt to stop imaging growth could easily reverse its positive effects on patients and quality. A better approach to managing utilization is to rely upon sound evidence and physician-developed practice guidelines. Policy decisions intended to manage growth in imaging utilization must take into account this broader view of imaging value and utilization. They must recognize that much of the growth emerges from deep, systematic, patient-centered changes that medical imaging has fostered. 3
6 Because medical imaging has introduced an exquisite sense of vision into medicine and with it, new medical capabilities it has brought about sweeping change in the U.S. health care system.
7 Changing the Landscape How Medical Imaging Has Transformed Health Care in the U.S. Introduction Medical imaging changes everything. It allows physicians to see inside the body without making an incision. It allows intricate procedures on fragile organs without surgery. It is known for its diagnostic power yet it often can treat the conditions it diagnoses. It is blamed as a driver of health There s no doubt that from the standpoint of costs yet it enables new efficiencies imaging scientists, the past 30 years have been and cost-savings. extraordinary. Just think about the top five innovations that have dramatically changed Because medical imaging has introduced the practice of medicine. Imaging can claim an exquisite sense of vision into medicine and with it, new medical capabili- resonance imaging, and minimally invasive three: computed tomography, magnetic ties it has brought about sweeping interventional techniques. change in the U.S. health care system. This includes changes in how physicians Elias Zerhouni, M.D. practice, where care is delivered, and Director, National Institutes of Health what patients expect. Yet this broad change is little understood. Instead, the artifacts of that change such as rapid growth in utilization of imaging services are the focus of attention in a time of intense budgetary pressure. This report will outline how medical imaging has altered the landscape of health care in the U.S. in a deep and lasting way. And it will show how this transformation is a primary factor underlying the utilization growth associated with medical imaging. Digital imaging has introduced a new generation of efficiencies. 5
8 Since Wilhelm Roentgen s discovery in 1895 of his new kind of light, which he called X-rays, medical imaging has undergone near continuous innovation.
9 Changing the Landscape How Medical Imaging Has Transformed Health Care in the U.S. Transformation Brought about by Medical Imaging Since Wilhelm Roentgen s discovery in 1895 of his new kind of light, which he called X-rays, medical imaging has undergone near continuous innovation. Before World War II, that largely involved refinement of X-ray technology; after the war, it focused primarily on the interaction of computerization and imaging technologies. 1 It is in this latter period that multiple generations of innovations and new discoveries, some astounding, some incremental in X-ray, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear imaging, and ultrasound positioned medical imaging to play a transformative role in modern medicine. During this period, the medical capacity of imaging increased rapidly. Advances in electronics, miniaturization, visualization, and computing power, as well as breakthroughs in imaging acquisition, resolution, transmission, and manipulation made imaging faster, smaller, more precise, and less invasive. 2 Changes in design and materials made imaging more mobile and portable. During this era, new types of imaging technologies and new ways to use imaging emerged. Ultrasound created images by using only sound waves; MRI did so using magnetic fields. Advances in X-ray technologies allowed physicians to watch in real-time as they snaked catheters through arteries to the heart, brain, or kidneys. CT scanning and mammography introduced new detail that enabled new diagnostic power and clinical capabilities. The development of digital imaging brought a new generation of efficiency and speed as it offered new options for data access and transmission and vast new volumes of information. How Imaging Changed Physician Practice But what about the deeper changes brought about by medical imaging? How has the development and refinement of imaging become a driving force in how physicians practice and how medical delivery is structured? 1 Naked to the Bone: Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century, by Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles, Rutgers University Press, March, Radiology at the Turn of the Millennium, Margulis A, Sunshine J, Radiology, 2000; 214: Also see, Diagnostic Imaging Makes Huge Technological Progress, Busch U, et. al., DiagnosticImaging.com, April, 2005, accessed May 19, 2006, at 7
10 New Ways to Improve Care: Part of the answer lies in the new capabilities that imaging has given physicians. Advances in imaging have provided physicians with new tools to improve care in new ways and often in entirely new dimensions. As a result, they use imaging in more clinical situations, for more diseases, and for more patients. Diagnosis of heart disease was once confined to a stethoscope and an EKG. Today, physicians use imaging procedures such as cardiac catheterization, CT angiography, cardiac ultrasound, and nuclear imaging to address heart disease. These foster early diagnosis and treatment, more targeted therapy, and improved survival. 3 Imaging enables physicians to identify blockages in neck arteries. For decades, cancer physicians were limited to guess work and indirect evaluations in judging the effect of cancer drugs on a tumor. Today, PET scans (positron emission tomography) allow them to visualize the tumor, determine how well cancer drugs are working, and calibrate therapy to the patient s exact circumstances. 4 Before development and refinement of ultrasound imaging, abdominal aortic aneurysms were rarely identified until they ruptured and patients died. Today, physicians use ultrasound scans to detect these aneurysms reducing the risk of death by more than 40 percent. 5 Less-Invasive Treatment: Medical imaging has also transformed medicine by enabling physicians to provide medical treatments deep within the body without surgery, blood loss, or the related risks. So care is easier, complications fewer, and recovery is faster. As a result, more patients qualify for care than would have if the only option were surgery. Image-guided renal angioplasty opens blocked kidney arteries without surgery, thus reducing complication risks. It allows patients to avoid a two-week hospital stay. 6 3 See Mowatt G, Brazzelli M, Murray A, Fraser C, Vale L. Systematic Review of Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) Myocardial Perfusion Scintigraphy for the Diagnosis and Management of Angina and Myocardial Infarction. Nucl Med Commun Mar; 26(3): Also see Alan S, Ulgen MS, Ozturk O, Alan B, Ozdemir L, Toprak N. Relation Between Coronary Artery Disease, Risk Factors and Intima-media Thickness of Carotid Artery, Arterial Distensibility, and Stiffness Index. Angiology May Jun;54(3): Also see The Value of Investment: Better Care, Better Lives, by MedTAP International, February Positron-Emission Tomography and Assessment of Cancer Therapy, Juweid, ME, Cheson, BD, New England Journal of Medicine, : Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: A Best-Evidence Systematic Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Fleming C, Whitlock EP, Beil TL, Lederle FA; Annals of Internal Medicine, Feb 2005, Vol 142, No 3; Also, Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Recommendation Statement, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Annals of Internal Medicine, Feb 2005, Vol 142, No 3; Outcome and Cost-Comparison of Percutaneous Transluminal Renal Angioplasty, Renal Arterial Stent Placement, and Renal Arterial Bypass Grafting, Xue F, et. al., Radiology, 1999; 212: Also see Athersclerotic Vascular Disease Conference: Writing Group VI: Revascularization, Bettmann MA, et. al., Circulation, Vol 109, pp , June 1,
11 Physicians can now use image-guided embolization to correct uterine fibroid tumors without hysterectomy. This permits patients to get back to work in two weeks, rather than six. In cancer care, physicians use imaging to perform minimally invasive bone biopsies rather than doing surgery thus allowing patients to avoid complications, a long recuperation, and a 2 5 inch scar. 7 Physicians today can use stereotactic radiosurgery which targets very narrow but extremely powerful beams of radiation on small brain tumors and early metastases. The procedure requires no hospitalization and substitutes for brain surgery. New Information for Diagnosis and Planning: Imaging has also brought about significant change by providing physicians with vast amounts of new information and visualization. This allows them to diagnose disease and plan treatment more effectively and confidently. CT and MRI allow physicians to identify the location and nature of a stroke thus reducing guesswork and guide them in choosing between surgery or clot-busting drugs. 8 Physicians use CT and MRI, rather than exploratory surgery, to visualize and pinpoint brain tumors and aneurysms even view them in 3D. 9 This gives them critical information about the nature and location of, as well as approach to, the problem. Physicians can now use ultrasound to identify ovarian cancer earlier and faster. This information allows them to begin treatment before disease progression is uncontrollable. 10 During liver cancer surgery, physicians use ultrasound to help them differentiate between diseased and healthy tissue and make adjustments as they operate. This information allows them to improve precision, reduce blood loss, and ultimately help speed-up healing. 11 Substitution for Other Procedures: Innovations in medical imaging provide physicians with new capabilities to substitute for riskier or more invasive procedures. For patients, this means greater comfort and better care. It also means that imaging is often used in clinical situations and circumstances in which it was not used before. 7 Diagnosis of Primary Bone Tumors with Image-Guided Percutaneous Biopsy: Experience with 110 Tumors, by Jelinek JS, Murphey MD, Welker JA, Henshaw RM, Kransdorf MJ, Shmookler BM, Malawer MM, Radiology 2002; 223; Diagnosis as a Guide to Stroke Therapy, The Lancet, Vuadens P, Bougousslavsky J, 1998: (suppl III) Also see Practice Guidelines: Use of Imaging in Transient Ischemic Attacks/Acute Stroke, A Report of the Stroke Council, American Heart Association, Stroke, 1997; 28: ; and Stroke Tests, American Stroke Association at 9 See White PM, Wardlaw JM, Easton V. Can Non-invasive Imaging Accurately Depict Intracranial Aneurysms? A Systematic Review. Radiology Nov; 217(2): [Value of Transvaginal Color Doppler Flow Imaging Conjugated with Multiple Serum Tumor Markers in Diagnosis of Ovarian Tumors], Wang Y, Liu LZ, Zhou JH, Pei XQ, Chen XY, Ai Zheng, [Chinese Journal of Cancer], 2004 Nov;23(11 Suppl); pp Radical but Conservative Is the Main Goal for Ultrasonography-Guided Liver Resection: Prospective Validation of this Approach. Torzilli, G et. al., Journal of American College of Surgeons, Vol. 201, No. 4, Oct. 2005, pp
12 Physicians can now use ultrasound tests to measure residual urine in prostate patients. By using ultrasound, they no longer have to insert a catheter into the patient s bladder. 12 Physicians can use ultrasound to guide them in placing large catheters in veins, thereby significantly reducing pain and complications and longer hospital stays from inaccurate needle-sticks. 13 CT scans can tell physicians whether a pulmonary embolism has developed in the lung, thereby reducing the need to thread a catheter through the heart to reach the lung. 14 MRI and CT scans mean that brain tumor patients must no longer endure a painful procedure in which air is injected into their skulls and they are rotated upside down. CT provides non-invasive diagnosis of pulmonary embolism. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy allows physicians to pinpoint tumor location and sculpt each beam of radiation, thus avoiding harm to surrounding healthy tissue. 15 New Settings of Care: Medical imaging is now smaller and more portable, enabling care in a variety of new settings such as physician offices and imaging centers. For patients, the result is convenience and easier access increasing the likelihood that they will get the tests, treatments, and follow-up they need. 16 Small ultrasound machines allow physicians to diagnose heart, stomach, and bone problems in independent imaging facilities, physician offices, and other non-hospital locations as well as at the patient s bedside. Hand-carried ultrasound machines are used in emergency rooms, ambulances, and even on the battlefield Statement of Kim Williams, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Director of Nuclear Cardiology, University of Chicago, Testimony before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Health, March 17, Ultrasonic Locating Devices for Central Venous Cannulation: Meta-Analysis, Daniel Hind, et. al., The British Medical Journal, Volume 327, 16 August Multidetector-Row Computed Tomography in Suspected Pulmonary Embolism, Perrier, et. al., New England Journal of Medicine, Vol 352, No 17; pp , April 28, Also, Clinical Validity of a Negative Computed Tomography Scan in Patients with Suspected Pulmonary Embolism: A Systematic Review, Quiroz, et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol 293, No 16; pp , April 27, See High Dose Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer: Early Toxicity and Biochemical Outcome in 772 Patients, by Zelefsky MJ, Fuks Z, Hunt M, Yamada Y, Marion C, Ling CC, Amols H, Venkatraman, ES, Leibel S, in International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, Volume 53, No. 5; pages , August Also see Cancer in the Crosshairs, Brown E, Forbes, p. 364, October 28, See Travel Distance to Radiation Therapy and Receipt of Radiotherapy Following Breast-Conserving Surgery, Athas WF, et. al., Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 92, No. 3, February 2, 2000, pp See The Incredible Shrinking Ultrasound Machine, Elsberry, RB, Imaging Economics, Nov
13 Similar changes are occurring in other imaging technologies, including digital and computed radiography, CT, and MRI. These technologies now allow diagnosis and treatment of such conditions as cancer, heart disease, and abdominal conditions in a variety of non-hospital settings. Heart valve problems show up in multiple dimensions on ultrasound. Any of these trends individually would have been enough to bring about important changes in medical care. Taken together, however, they have brought seismic change to the health delivery system. Diagnosis is earlier than ever. Physicians have more information and insight. Care is less invasive and less painful for patients. Access to tests and treatments is easier as imaging procedures are available in convenient settings, such as independent imaging centers. In addition, patient outcomes from fewer complications to saved lives are dramatically improved. During the course of a century, Roentgen s new kind of light evolved There has been an explosion in cancer research from an important diagnostic technology and knowledge. We have new tools like scans into an essential tool on the front line of and magnetic resonance imaging that were not medicine. Its impact is being felt in virtually all aspects of health care delivery. have the ability to halt the disease process so that available five years ago. This means that we now patients can live with and not die from cancer. Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D. Former Director, National Cancer Institute National Institutes of Health Acting Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration Statement made before American Association of Cancer Research, April
14 Another factor in the transformation of medicine is that imaging has become a standard of modern care for virtually all major medical conditions and diseases.
15 Changing the Landscape How Medical Imaging Has Transformed Health Care in the U.S. A Standard of Modern Medical Care Another factor in the transformation of medicine is that imaging has become a standard of modern care for virtually all major medical conditions and diseases. This includes cancer, stroke, heart disease, trauma, and abdominal and neurological conditions. That role is reflected in the reliance of physicians upon imaging in everyday practice, as well as in the prominence of imaging in physician-developed practice guidelines across a range of medical conditions. Heart Disease One of the most dramatic contributions that imaging has made over the past 30 years has been its role in the significant improvements in mortality and morbidity of heart disease. 18 Advances in cardiac imaging have enhanced every aspect of cardiac care, including screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up monitoring providing detail unachievable even a decade ago. 19 Cardiac catheterization, ultrasound, and CT scanning provide physicians with vital information and precise images of blood flow, artery blockages, and heart functioning. 20 This information allows physicians to make earlier, more accurate diagnoses and to better target therapy. Also, medical imaging facilitates coronary angioplasty and, along with it, coronary stents to keep blocked arteries open. Angioplasty has become the therapy of choice for opening clogged arteries and has been shown superior to drugs in more than 20 clinical trials. 21 Detailed views of heart tissue and arteries on CT aid diagnosis and treatment planning. 18 See The Value of Investment: Better Care, Better Lives, by MedTAP International, February Also see Trends in Heart Attack Treatment and Outcomes, , Literature Review and Synthesis, by Paul Heidenreich and Mark McClellan, in Medical Care Output and Productivity, edited by David M. Cutler and Ernst R. Berndt, University of Chicago Press, See Lewin Report, p. ii. Also see Alexanderson E, Granados N, Gomez-Martin D, Ricalde A, Meave A. [Evaluation of Coronary Artery Disease by Myocardial Perfusion Imaging in Women] Arch Cardiol Mex Jan Mar;75(1): Also see Mowatt G, Brazzelli M, Murray A, Fraser C, Vale L. Systematic Review of Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) Myocardial Perfusion Scintigraphy for the Diagnosis and Management of Angina and Myocardial Infarction. Nucl Med Commun Mar;26(3): See American College of Radiology Clinical Statement on Noninvasive Cardiac Imaging, Weinreb, JC, et. al., Radiology, June 2005, Vol. 235, pp See Primary Angioplasty Versus Intravenous Thrombolytic Therapy For Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Quantitative Review of 23 Randomized Trials, by Keeley EC; Boura JA; and Grines CL; in The Lancet, Vol 361, No 9351, Jan 4, Also see A Comparison of Coronary Angioplasty with Fibrinolytic Therapy in Acute Myocardial Infarction, by Andersen et al, in The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol 349, No 8; ,
16 Advances in imaging continue to offer new insights and Multi-slice CT scanners have simply redefined detail about cardiac activity. Multi-slice CT provides fast the way we image acute thromboembolic images of coronary artery calcifications, and CT angiography strokes. We used to make decisions based on offers precise visualization of clogged arteries without an invasive and very expensive procedure that use of invasive catheters. 22 In addition, MRI and nuclear took hours. Now it s a whole new world. The imaging scans show functioning of the heart muscle patient has a 3-second CT of the head followed at the cellular level. Non-invasive imaging is central to by a 30-second CT angiogram. After only a few modern diagnosis and management of heart disease. 23 minutes and a couple hundred dollars, we ve gathered sufficient information to make the Stroke best clinical decision. In addition to its contributions in heart disease, medical imaging has made modern stroke therapy possible Shahram Partovi, M.D. Medical Director of Advanced CT Imaging through early, accurate diagnosis and new treatment Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph s Hospital options. 24 Numerous imaging technologies, such as and Medical Center ultrasound and MRI, provide high-resolution images of arteries, the vascular system, and the brain to identify blockages or the thickening of the artery lining. In addition, CT scans, diffusion-weighted imaging, and PET scans aid physicians in assessing whether carotid endarterectomy is appropriate a surgery that removes plaque from the arteries that supply blood to the brain. 25 When a stroke hits, imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT, and MRI provide rapid information about the nature and location of the stroke, and the extent of brain injury, allowing physicians to make well-informed judgments rapidly. 26 This information enables physicians to differentiate between ischemic stroke, involving a blockage in the arteries, and hemorrhage stroke, which involves rupture or loss of blood. With this information, physicians can prescribe cost- and life-saving thrombolytic therapy a drug treatment for ischemic brain attack. 27 Or they can use imaging to guide delicate surgical procedures to close ruptured arteries. Imaging also enables use of microcoil stents to correct 22 Roles of Nuclear Cardiology, Cardiac Computed Tomography, and Cardiac Magnetic Resonance: Assessment of Patients with Suspected Coronary Artery Disease, Berman, DS, et. al., Journal of Nuclear Medicine, V 47, No 1, January 2006, pp Also see How New Heart-Scanning Technology Could Save Your Life, by Christine Gorman and Alice Park, Time, Sept 5, 2005, pp Roles of Nuclear Cardiology, Cardiac Computed Tomography, and Cardiac Magnetic Resonance: Assessment of Patients with Suspected Coronary Artery Disease, Berman, DS, et. al., Journal of Nuclear Medicine, V 47, No 1, January 2006, pp See Stroke Treatment: Time is Brain, Hill MD, and Hachinski V, The Lancet, 1998; 352 (suppl III) Also see Practice Guidelines: Use of Imaging in Transient Ischemic Attacks/Acute Stroke, A Report of the Stroke Council, American Heart Association, Stroke, 1997; 28: See Cost Effectiveness of Carotid Endarterectomy Clinical Study, Nussbaum ES, Heros RC, Erickson DL, Neurosurgery, 38; ; Also see,the Value of Investment in Health Care: Better Care, Better Lives, MedTap International, p. 34, Evidence-Based Neuroimaging in Acute Ischemic Stroke, Vo DK, Lin W, Lee JM, Neuroimaging Clinics North America, 13(2) 2003, Cost-Effectiveness of Tissue Plasminogen Activator for Acute Ischemic Stroke. NINDS rt-pa Stroke Study Group, Fagan SC, Morgenstern LB, Petitta A, Ward RE, Tilley BC, Marker JR, Levine SR, Broderick JP, Kwiatkowski TG, Frankel M, Brett TG, and Walker MD, in Neurology, 50, 4:
17 brain aneurysms without open surgery, thus reducing patient hospital stays by half and allowing patients to recover in a month, rather than a year. 28 The central role that imaging plays in guiding physicians in detecting and treating stroke and cardiovascular conditions is well-documented in peer-reviewed articles, practice guidelines, and quality standards, such as those of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. All reflect the fact that, as one physician put it, imaging provides a window on the brain. 29 Clearly, imaging has transformed cancer care. Not only does it help determine the best treatment approach, not only does it determine how well the treatment is working, but the very innovative treatments we use today could not have been developed without the aid of imaging to assess their efficacy compared to the old therapies. Landis Griffeth, M.D. Director of Nuclear Medicine, Baylor Medical Center Cancer Medical imaging is also a primary tool in the battle against cancer. Over the past two decades, advances in medical imaging have dramatically improved cancer diagnosis and treatment. 30 Early detection by mammography has reduced breast cancer death rates. Earlier detection of breast cancer through mammography has reduced death rates in the U.S. and other countries, 31 with ultrasound and MRI aiding in diagnosis and treatment. CT, MRI, and ultrasound scans give physicians vital information about the location and nature of cancer to aid in treatment planning. Intra-operative ultrasound and MRI during surgery help physicians remove cancerous tissue, while sparing that which is 28 Surgical and Endovascular Treatment of Unruptured Cerebral Aneurysms at University Hospitals, by Johnston SC, Dudley RA, Gress DR, and Ono L, Neurology, 1999; 52:1799. Also see Endovascular and Surgical Treatment of Unruptured Cerebral Aneurysms: Comparison of Risks, by Johnston SC, Wilson CB, Halbach W, Higashida RT, Dowd CF, McDermott MW, Applebury CB, Farley TL, Gress DR, Annals of Neurology, 2001, May; 49(5): Also see, International Subarachnoid Aneurysm Trial (ISAT) of Neurosurgical Clipping Versus Endovascular Coiling in 2143 Patients with Ruptured Intracranial Aneurysms: A Randomised Comparison of Effects on Survival, Dependency, Seizures, Rebleeding, Subgroups, and Aneurysm Occlusion, Molyneux AJ, Kerr RS, Yu LM, Clarke M, Sneade M, Yarnold JA, Sandercock P, The Lancet, Vol. 366, Issue 9488, September 3, 2005, Pages Imaging: Window on the Brain, Mazziotta JC, Archives of Neurology, Vol. 57, October, 2000, pp Molecular Imaging in Cancer: Future Directions and Goals of the National Cancer Institute, Hoffman JM, Menkens AE, Academic Radiology 2000, Vol 7, No 10, October 2000, p.905. Also see, Imaging in Cancer: A National Cancer Institute Extraordinary Opportunity, Hoffman, JM, Neoplasia, Vol. 2, No.1/2, January April, Effect of Screening and Adjuvant Therapy on Mortality from Breast Cancer, Berry, DA, et. al., The New England Journal of Medicine, October 27, 2005, pp Also, Effects of Chemotherapy and Hormonal Therapy for Early Breast Cancer on Recurrence and 15-year Survival: An Overview of the Randomised Trials, Early Breast Cancer Trialists Collaborative Group (EBCTCG), The Lancet, Vol. 365, May 14, 2005, pp
18 healthy. 32 Minimally invasive imaging procedures allow biopsies of breast, bone, and other tissue without open surgery, dramatically reducing infections, complications, and recovery time. 33 Sophisticated new radiation treatment systems provide targeted radiation therapy that matches the tumor shape, but protects surrounding tissue. The result: better success rates, quicker pain relief, and fewer complications. 34 PET and other nuclear scans also allow physicians to identify cancer cells often well before they are visible aiding in detection, management, and treatment. And computer-aided detection, or CAD, systems enhance the ability of mammography to detect breast cancer in its early stages. 35 Radiation therapy systems pinpoint brain tumors. Medical imaging also takes cancer-killing agents directly to the diseased tissue, even if it lies deep within the body. The results are improved treatment, fewer complications, and in many cases longer life. Under the guidance of MRI or ultrasound, physicians can place radioactive seeds about the size of grains of rice inside the prostate where the seeds can deliver the radiation dose directly to the cancerous tissue. 36 Looking to the future, developments in molecular, cellular, functional, and genetic imaging, particularly in light of the mapping of the human genome, promise a new era of prediction and prevention of disease, not just diagnosis and treatment. 37 The impact of medical imaging in cancer care is so profound, according to Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, former Director of the National Cancer Institute and now Acting FDA Commissioner, that it is one of the primary tools in helping eliminate death and suffering from cancer. Whether it s as a minimally invasive screening tool, a surrogate marker for clinical endpoints in clinical trials, or a method of guiding the delivery of treatment, imaging will be an indispensable tool in the march toward the 2015 goal of eliminating the suffering and death due to cancer Intraoperative Ultrasound in Determining the Extent of Resection of Parenchymal Brain Tumours A Comparative Study with Computed Tomography and Histopathology, Chacko AG, et. al., Acta Neurochirurgica (Wien), Vol. 145, No. 9, pp , September, Also Intraoperative MRI to Guide the Resection of Primary Supratentorial Glioblastoma Multiforme A Quantitative Radiological Analysis, Schneider JP, et. al., Neuroradiology, Vol. 47, No. 7, pp , July, See Diagnosis of Primary Bone Tumors with Image-Guided Percutaneous Biopsy: Experience with 110 Tumors, by Jelinek JS, Murphey MD, Welker JA, Henshaw RM, Kransdorf MJ, Shmookler BM, Malawer MM, Radiology 2002; 223; See, High Dose Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer: Early Toxicity and Biochemical Outcome in 772 Patients, by Zelefsky MJ, et. al., International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, Volume 53, No. 5; pages , August Screening Mammograms: Interpretation with Computer-aided Detection Prospective Evaluation, Morton, MJ, Radiology, Vol. 239, No. 2, pp , May, See, Will Radical Prostatectomy Become Obsolete, Contemporary Urology, Vol. 14; i. 10; p. 75 (1), October Also, Modern Prostate Brachytherapy, Ragde H, et. al., CA A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, Vol. 50, No. 6, pp , November/December, Advances in Biomedical Imaging, Tempany MC, McNeil BJ, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2001, Vol. 285: Director s Update, Imaging: An Integral Tool on the Path to 2015, National Cancer Bulletin, National Cancer Institute, Vol. 2, No. 17, April
19 Physician Practice Guidelines The central role that medical imaging plays in addressing diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer is captured in medical practice guidelines developed by medical specialty societies, such as the American College of Radiology and the American College of Cardiology. The guidelines reflect clinical recommendations developed by the specialty physician groups themselves on how best to diagnose or treat specific medical conditions. They are based upon proven and widely accepted standards and evidence. Recent examples of such guidelines include: Guidelines by the American Urological Association recommending use of ultrasound to assess prostate size or abnormalities, guide minimally invasive kidney biopsies, and examine the bladder for suspected bladder stones. 39 Guidelines by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommending use of ultrasound, CT, and other imaging technologies to diagnose peripheral arterial disease. 40 Recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force the nation s pre-eminent preventive services panel to use ultrasound screening to detect abdominal aortic aneurysms in elderly male smokers. 41 The USPSTF has long-established recommendations on the use of imaging to detect breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Imaging identifies lifethreatening abdominal aortic aneurysms. Governmental bodies also frequently underscore the importance of imaging in diagnosis and treatment. Many of the national coverage decisions issued by Medicare over the past 24 months have involved medical imaging PET scanning in particular. In 2005, the Medicare program covered PET for Alzheimer s disease and for diagnosing and determining the stage of esophageal, colorectal, head and neck cancer, and non-small-cell lung cancer, as well as lymphoma and malignant melanoma. 42 Medicare also agreed to provide payment for use of PET for virtually all other types of cancer if provided as part of a clinical trial or a national registry, such as the National Oncologic PET Registry. 43 Medicare coverage clears the way for use among the program s 40 million beneficiaries. 39 American Urological Association, Guidelines for Ultrasound Utilization, accessed May 8, 2006, at 40 ACC/AHA Practice Guidelines for the Management of Patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease (Lower Extremity, Renal, Mesenteric, and Abdominal Aortic): Executive Summary, Hirsch AT, et. al., Circulation, March 21, 2006, pp Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: A Best-Evidence Systematic Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Fleming C, et. al., Annals of Internal Medicine, Feb 2005, Vol. 142, No. 3, pp ; and Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Recommendation Statement, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Annals of Internal Medicine, Feb 2005, Vol. 142, No. 3, pp Positron-Emission Tomography and Assessment of Cancer Therapy, Juweid ME, and Cheson, BD, The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 354, No. 5, Feb. 2, 2006, pp See 17
20 Imaging allows us to detect cancer early we know that. It helps in survivability. And I was one of those early detections, so I m living proof that early detection helps. It s less invasive than other types of cancer treatment. It allows us to manage the disease a lot better. And all of those things Physicians Say Imaging Most Important Innovation In light of the impact of imaging on the practice of medicine, it is not surprising that medical imaging has been rated highly by physicians and medical journals alike. are possible because of imaging. A 2001 study published in the policy journal Health Affairs asked 225 leading physicians to rank the relative Rep. Mike Rogers, (R-MI) importance of 30 medical innovations in terms of their Chair, House Cancer Care Working Group value in improving patient care. 44 The physicians overwhelmingly picked two imaging technologies CT and April 5, 2006, Capitol Hill briefing on Medical Imaging in Cancer Care: Charting the Progress MRI as the most significant. The next highest choice, a heart drug, was rated much lower. Of the top five innovations chosen by physicians, three involved imaging: CT and MRI, image-guided balloon angioplasty, and mammography. While this survey focused on general practitioners, the same broad adoption of imaging has occurred among medical specialty physicians as well. This includes oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, cardiologists, internists, and emergency room physicians, among others. In March 2005 testimony, a coalition of more than 20 physician specialty groups characterized the importance of imaging in the way they practice in this way: In addition to traditional diagnostics employing medical imaging, we now use imaging to guide minimally invasive treatments and to track ongoing treatment protocols through judicious use of medical imaging. We are enabled as physicians to adjust patient care plans mid-therapy to achieve the best possible outcomes. Several specialist groups intimately integrate medical imaging in the most delicate and intricate aspects of their care. The prudent use of medical imaging in the actual treatment regimen is not only excellent medicine: it also manages short- and long-term costs by minimizing wasteful and ineffective treatments. 45 Studies show mammography to be both lifesaving and cost effective. 44 Physicians Views of the Relative Importance of Thirty Medical Innovations, Victor R. Fuchs and Harold C. Sox, Jr., Health Affairs, Volume 20, Number 5, September/October, Kim Williams M.D., Testimony before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Health, March 17,
21 The degree of importance of imaging to physicians and their ability to provide care was summed-up by one of the premier medical journals for physicians, the New England Journal of Medicine, in In a retrospective on the turn of the millennium, the editors of the journal called medical imaging one of the most important medical developments of the past 1,000 years ranking with such milestones as the discovery of anesthesia and the discovery of antibiotics. 46 The reason: the remarkable power of medical imaging in providing physicians with sight and insight about human disease and physiology. Better imaging permitted the development of new treatments for cancer and vascular and cardiac diseases, as well as more accurate determination of the stages of a variety of disease processes, said the publication. 47 It identified three overlapping stages in the evolution of medical imaging from early discovery of X-rays, to diagnosis via the body s vascular system, to direct delivery of treatment through minimally invasive procedures. Nuclear imaging shows physicians whether cancer has spread. 46 Looking Back on the Millennium in Medicine, The Editors, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 342, No. 1, pp , 47 Ibid. January 6,
22 It is against this backdrop of fundamental change brought about by medical imaging and its importance throughout medicine that growth in imaging services must be viewed.
23 Changing the Landscape How Medical Imaging Has Transformed Health Care in the U.S. Transformation Increases Use It is against this backdrop of fundamental change brought about by medical imaging and its importance throughout medicine that growth in imaging services must be viewed. Obviously, the broad applicability of imaging has led to increases in utilization. This is a logical consequence of the integration of imaging into standard diagnosis and treatment described throughout this paper. But these broad, patient-centered Medical imaging revolutionized the whole concept of medicine. You could see structures that changes that underlie much utilization growth are little understood in policy were previously inaccessible to the human eye. discussions about the rise in utilization Over the past century, from its very humble of medical imaging. Utilization growth is beginnings, imaging has played a critical role in judged almost entirely on the size of the every single specialty of medicine including year-to-year change, not on whether the orthopedics, neurology, and cardiology. reasons behind it are sound or unsound. More troubling, increases in Diwaker Jain, M.D. utilization are perceived often Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, as the consequence of faulty Director of Nuclear Cardiology Lab, financial incentives among Drexel University College of Medicine payment systems or providers. Little or no recognition is given to the prospect that the rapid growth of imaging services is a logical result of the broad adoption of imaging across specialties, conditions, and settings based upon its value in improving care and patient outcome. PET scans allow physicians to identify tumors without surgery. In fact, increases in the number of imaging procedures per patient is one of the primary metrics used to demonstrate excessive utilization. 48 Yet it is this very metric that captures the transformation of medicine brought about by imaging physicians use it more broadly, in more patients, for more conditions because it improves care. To complicate the issue of utilization further, the costs associated with increases in utilization are often overstated. In its March 2005 Report to the Congress: Medicare Payment Policy, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) argued that utilization of imaging technologies was increasing out of proportion to growth in other health care services and that these increases 48 See Report to the Congress: Medicare Payment Policy, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, March 2005, Washington, D.C. 21
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