Diagnosing Certain Conditions with Ultrasound over Other Technologies Can Save Money

For certain types of conditions, different imaging technologies may serve as substitutes for one another. Rotator cuff tears, for example, can be diagnosed with ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  Because both imaging technologies have been shown to be effective in diagnosing this type of injury, relative cost becomes an important consideration.  KNG Health conducted two studies to examine the potential cost savings to the Medicare program from the substitution of ultrasound for MRI and computed tomography (CT) in diagnosing certain musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and renal colic. Cost-saving estimates were developed using Medicare claims data and assumptions relating to the use of diagnostic ultrasound, MRI, and CT in the Medicare population.  The studies found that using ultrasound over CT and MRI in diagnosing MSK conditions and renal colic would result in significant cost savings.

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