Report: Canada sees 20 percent jump in MRI, CT scanners

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Canada has seen a 20 percent rise in both MRI and CT scanners in use over the past three years. This is paired with an increase in screening access, according to new analysis from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). The report found that at the start of 2006, Canada had 196 MRI scanners in use, an increase of 50 scanners in three years. As for CT scanners, the country had 378 in use, 47 more than in 2003. One key benefit is that the proportion of patients reporting difficulties in accessing a non-emergency CT scan decreased from 14 percent in 2003 to 10 percent in 2005. For MRI, those reporting difficulties in accessing an MRI test dropped from 21 percent in 2003 to 16 percent in 2005. Below is a breakdown of the increases by facility type:

  • The number of MRI scanners in largely publicly funded hospitals went up from 121 in 2003 to 164 in 2006. For CT the number increased from 321 to 360 at the same facilities over the same three-year period;
  • At privately-funded free-standing facilities, the number of MRIs rose from 25 to 32 in three years and as of 2006 these scanners were located in five provinces. At the same type of facilities, CT scanners in use increased from 10 to 18, and were located in four provinces.