Top 5 Radiology News Stories of the Week June 23-29 2012

VC again found effective in Medicare population Aunt Minnie | June 29, 2012

In 2009 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) voted that virtual colonoscopy (also known as CT colonography or CTC) should not be covered by Medicare due to lack of adequate data regarding its effectiveness.  CTC brought concerns for the USPSTF because of the amount of radiation involved in screening and it had trouble detecting polyps less than 6mm, which caused the need for a traditional colonoscopy in some patients. This most recent study as well as several studies performed since 2009 show that the referral rate to traditional colonoscopy is relatively small and that CTC should be approved for Medicare patients. However, this study was performed retrospectively and did not compare the accuracy of CTC to that of traditional colonoscopy. This is a step in the right direction but more comparative accuracy studies need to be performed in order to truly know if CTC should be covered by Medicare.

ACR updates Appropriateness Criteria Health Imaging | June 28, 2012

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has released new and updated evidence-based guidelines to help healthcare providers choose the most appropriate medical imaging exam or radiation therapy for a patient’s clinical condition. The newly added five new criteria—breast cancer screening, radiologic management of gastric varices, imaging of mesenteric ischemia, definitive therapy for early-stage cervical cancer and radiation therapy for small-cell lung cancer. The criteria have been shown to improve quality, reduce unnecessary exams and lower costs, according to the ACR. Check out the updated criteria on the ACR website.

Radiology job market: Is the future bright? Aunt Minnie | June 28, 2012

Between shrinking budgets and attempts to reduce healthcare costs it makes you wonder if you’ll even have a job a year from now. Even with all of these negatives many radiologists are still optimistic about theirs and radiology’s futures. In the future more and more people will have health issues that can be bettered with the support of imaging services. It is necessary for radiologists to make an effort to collaborate more actively with other physicians create a more public face when it comes to patients.

Supreme Court upholds healthcare reform Health Imaging |June 28, 2012

I am sure all of you have read about this a million times over. But, this is big news and I would be neglectful if I did not include it in the Top News Stories.  The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the individual mandate was constitutional. They, however, have stated that each individual state does not need to extend their Medicare coverage to the uninsured as it says in the PPACA. Time and the upcoming Presidential election will tell us how this will all pan out.

Fewer US Women in their 40s Received Screening Mammos Diagnostic Imaging | June 27, 2012

In 2009 the USPSTF struck again. This time recommending that routine biennial screening of women younger than 50 be only performed on an individual basis, not as routine. While the previous guideline suggested that woman ages 40 and over should be screened yearly.  Since the USPSTF’s recommendation several organizations have still suggested the original guidelines. However, since the USPSTF’s recommendation  researchers found a 5.72 percent decrease in mammograms performed among women aged 40 to 49 — a small but significant decrease.

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