The Impact of Medical Imaging on Health Care by Mark Harris

There’s little doubt that medical imaging — x-rays, ultrasounds, etc. — has had a major impact on the health care industry, but studies by the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA) have outlined the specifics of what modern imaging technology has meant for the delivery of health care to patients. Medical imaging has altered the processes of diagnosing, treating and studying diseases and ailments, opening up the range of possibilities for patients.

The advantages of using medical imaging include:

  • Improved patient care, based on a wider variety of options for diagnosis, treatment and preventative research.
  • Reduced health care costs because of fewer unnecessary and exploratory surgeries, fewer surgeries for ailments that could be treated otherwise and fewer surgeries overall through early diagnosis.
  • Less invasive, image-related treatment options, such as angioplasty and catheters.
  • More efficient diagnosis through quicker and less labor-intensive locating of diseased tissue, strokes or aneurysms.
  • Wider selection of procedures, thanks to the visible accuracy that allows for more precise treatments, such as the placement of catheters in veins.
  • Increased range of care through hand-carried imaging machinery that allows for diagnoses in non-hospital settings.

Despite all the advantages, however, there are increased restrictions on coverage for medical imaging by health care providers across the country, a trend that fails to take into account the fact that the increased use of imaging can actually save money due to improvements in the efficiency of diagnosis and treatment.