By the numbers

Some weeks the numbers tell the story. A few of this week’s findings definitely provide pause to ponder.


  • More than four out of five radiologists did not see a 29x50mm image of a gorilla printed on a stack of chest CTs.
  • The Congressional Budget Office lowered its estimate of the cost of holding physician fees constant under the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula and estimated that holding payment rates through 2023 at the levels they are now would raise outlays for Medicare by $14 billion in 2014 and about $138 billion between 2014 and 2023.
  • Radiation therapy is the second most lucrative profession requiring a two-year degree, with a median salary of $76,627.

In other top stories of the week, expert reviews attempted to level some of the enthusiasm for two bleeding-edge molecular imaging approaches.

The symbiosis between PET and MR in cardiac PET/MR offers potential in cardiac imaging, wrote the authors of a review article published in the March issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. However, researchers have not yet identified any clear clinical uses or killer apps, they continued.

While molecularly targeted therapies seem to offer a promising approach that may hone in on malignancies while minimizing damage to normal cells, this approach may be associated with unexpected side effects when used with pediatric patients, according to the authors of a review published in the February issue of The Lancet Oncology.

Another new practice model that may be subject to a tepid reception is radiologist-provided results delivery. In a survey of 229 primary care physicians, none supported direct delivery of results by radiologists to patients.

Finally, another emerging imaging technology received a tentative thumbs-up in a study published in the February issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine. The pilot study that examined the use of video camera endoscopy in the emergency department (ED) suggested ED physicians may be able to tap into the system to identify patients with gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

What numbers caught your eye this week? Let us know.

Lisa Fratt, editor

Health Imaging