Australian docs increasing imaging rates

The U.S. isn’t the only country looking to better understand diagnostic imaging utilization trends. A report from the University of Sydney found Australian general practitioners may be too quick to order imaging tests during initial examinations.

The report draws on data from nearly one million patient encounter records from 2002 to 2012, and found a 5 percent rise in diagnostic imaging orders from general practitioners.

Increased utilization rates were driven by an increasing number of patient visits, a higher number of problems managed at initial consultation and an increased likelihood that general practitioners order imaging for problems during these consultations. For example, the study found Australian general practitioners were twice as likely to order imaging for new back problems during an initial exam compared with a follow-up consultation.