Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctors who own scanning equipment are more likely to order scans, study shows

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 03 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2760
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

US doctors with a financial interest in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment, either owning or leasing it, are more likely to order scans for lower back pain than doctors who have no such stake. And those who are orthopaedic specialists are more likely to go on to order surgery, finds a new study published in Health Services Research (doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01265.x).

The study was based on regression modelling of data from Medicare, the national health insurance programme for people 65 or older, for the period 1998 to 2005. Around 2.8 million visits to doctors over that period were for non-specific lower back pain, and the study sampled …

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