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Use of Medical Images

These measures give you information about hospitals' use of medical imaging tests (like mammograms, MRIs, and CT scans) for outpatients based on the following:

  • Protecting patients’ safety, such as keeping patients’ exposure to radiation and other risks as low as possible.

  • Following up properly when screening tests such as mammograms show a possible problem.

  • Avoiding the risk, stress, and cost of doing imaging tests that patients may not need.

The information shown here is limited to medical imaging facilities that are part of a hospital or associated with a hospital. These facilities can be inside or near the hospital, or in a different location. This information only includes medical imaging done on outpatients. Medical imaging tests done for patients who have been admitted to the hospital as inpatients aren’t included.These measures are based on Medicare claims data.

Outpatients with low back pain who had an MRI without trying recommended treatments first, such as physical therapy

Abington Memorial Hospital 31.7%
Lansdale Hospital 40.8%
Pennsylvania Average 35.7%
National Average 36.5%

Lower percentages are better.

What It Is and Why It Is Important

  • An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a test that uses a powerful magnetic field and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the inside of the body (bones, organs, and other body parts).
  • Process of care say that most patients with low back pain should start with treatment such as physical therapy or chiropractic care, and have an MRI only if the treatment doesn't help.

Outpatients who had a follow-up mammogram, ultrasound or MRI of the breast within 45 days after a screening mammogram.

Abington Memorial Hospital 8.5%
Lansdale Hospital 11.4%
Pennsylvania Average 8.9%
National Average 8.8%

Lower percentages are better.

What It Is and Why It Is Important

  • A follow-up rate near zero may indicate missed cancer; a rate higher than 14% may mean there is unnecessary follow up.

Outpatient CT scans of the chest that were "combination" (double) scans

Abington Memorial Hospital 1.7%
Lansdale Hospital 2.4%
Pennsylvania Average 2.3%
National Average 3.7%

Lower percentages are better.

What It Is and Why It Is Important

  • For some CT scans, a substance called "contrast" is put into the patient's body before the scan begins, to help make parts of the body stand out more clearly. Contrast can be either swallowed or injected into a vein.
  • "Combination" CT scan means that the patient gets two CT scans - one scan without contrast followed by a second scan with contrast.
  • If a number is high, it may mean that too many patients are being given a double scan when a single scan is all they need.

Outpatient CT scans of the abdomen that were "combination" (double) scans.

Abington Memorial Hospital 4.5%
Lansdale Hospital 5.7%
Pennsylvania Average 13.5%
National Average 12.7%

Lower percentages are better.

What It Is and Why It Is Important

  • For some CT scans, a substance called "contrast" is put into the patient's body before the scan begins, to help make parts of the body stand out more clearly. Contrast can be either swallowed or injected into a vein.
  • "Combination" CT scan means that the patient gets two CT scans - one scan without contrast followed by a second scan with contrast.
  • If a number is high, it may mean that too many patients are being given a double scan when a single scan is all they need.

Outpatients who got cardiac imaging stress tests before low-risk outpatient surgery

Abington Memorial Hospital 5.2%
Lansdale Hospital Not Available *
Pennsylvania Average 5.5%
National Average 5.5%

Lower percentages are better.

What It Is and Why It Is Important

  • A cardiac stress test measures the heart’s ability to respond when it is stressed, and can be useful in evaluating a patient’s surgical risk. Experts agree, however, that these tests are not necessary before most low-risk outpatient surgical procedures, such as colonoscopies, cataract surgery, biopsies, or endoscopies (using “scopes” to look inside the body) because these procedures put very little stress on the heart.

footnotes:
*
The number of cases/patients is too few to report.

Outpatients with brain CT scans who got a sinus CT scan at the same time

Abington Memorial Hospital 2.5%
Lansdale Hospital Not Available *
Pennsylvania Average 3.2%
National Average 2.8%

Higher percentages are better.

What It Is and Why It Is Important

  • Brain CTs and sinus CTs can be important tools for diagnosing problems that may be causing severe headaches or chronic sinus infections, but they also expose patients to high levels of radiation.
  • Brain CT scans cover large parts of the sinuses, so ordering both tests may be unnecessary

footnotes:
*
The number of cases/patients is too few to report.

Source: The information was provided from Hospital Compare (for the months of January 2011 through December 2011), a quality tool developed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.  You may use the information in Hospital Compare together with the other information you gather about hospitals as you decide where to get hospital services. You may want to contact your health care provider, your State Survey Agency or your state Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) for more information. If you have a complaint about the quality of the medical care you or a loved one received at a hospital, first contact the hospital's patient advocate. Or, contact your state QIO. If you have other complaints about a health care facility, contact your State Survey Agency. Additional information about hospitals may be found on the state websites.