Repeat and redundant procedures in medical imaging are associated with increases in resource utilisation and labour costs. Unnecessary medical imaging in some modalities, such as X-Ray (XR) and Computed Tomography (CT) is an important safety issue because it exposes patients to ionising radiation which can be carcinogenic and is associated with higher rates of cancer. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of implementing an integrated Computerised Provider Order Entry (CPOE)/Radiology Information System (RIS)/Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) system on the number of XR and CT imaging procedures (including repeat imaging requests) for inpatients at a large metropolitan hospital. The study found that patients had an average 0.47 fewer XR procedures and 0.07 fewer CT procedures after the implementation of the integrated system. Part of this reduction was driven by a lower rate of repeat procedures: the average inpatient had 0.13 fewer repeat XR procedures within 24-hours of the previous identical XR procedure. A similar decrease was not evident for repeat CT procedures. Reduced utilisation of imaging procedures (especially those within very short intervals from the previous identical procedure, which are more likely to be redundant) has implications for the safety of patients and the cost of medical imaging services.
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