New Study Finds Primary Care Physicians Highly Value Advanced Medical Imaging


Washington, D.C. – The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) today lauded the findings of a study that found the majority of primary care physicians (PCPs) believe that advanced medical imaging provides considerable value to patient care. The study, published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, also found that physicians whose clinical careers began prior to the widespread availability of advanced medical imaging tend to hold these technologies in even higher regard than younger physicians.

“The value of advanced medical imaging technologies for specialists—such as oncologists, radiologists and cardiologists— in detecting disease early and staging treatment has long been documented, but this study is groundbreaking in its finding that imaging is just as central to first-line primary care physicians,” said Gail Rodriguez, executive director of MITA. “While it is not a surprise that older physicians find CT, MRI, and other imaging innovations even more valuable than younger colleagues who have always had them within reach, it’s a reminder of how much imaging has changed the practice of medicine in such a short time.”

The authors conducted a national online survey of 500 PCPs, drawing from a diverse population with varied geographic locations, practice types and years of experience. The average age was 51.3, with a range of 29-77, and the average years in practice was 19.4, with a range of 5-45. Questions focused on advanced medical imaging and its perceived impact on the delivery of patient care.

The study found that large majorities of the physicians think that advanced medical imaging:

  • provides data not otherwise available (90 percent);
  • increases diagnostic confidence (88 percent);
  • allows better clinical decision-making (88 percent);
  • improves confidence in treatment choices (88 percent); and
  • shortens time to definitive diagnosis (86 percent).

“Different generations of physicians may place differing values on advanced medical imaging,” said lead author Christine M. Hughes of the Hadley Hart Group. “However, the consensus is that these technologies contribute to an overall improvement in patient care.”

Additionally, the study found that there is a misperception of the costs associated with advanced medical imaging. In fact, more than half of the respondents overestimated the Medicare reimbursement of an MRI of the brain to be two to three times the actual amount.

“Our theory is that these physicians may value advanced imaging even more if they knew the actual cost of the scan was half as much,” said Hughes. “Interestingly, the overestimation of costs by physicians in our study aligns with similar findings in another recent study in consumers.”


The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of NEMA, is the collective voice of medical imaging equipment, radiation therapy and radiopharmaceutical manufacturers, innovators and product developers. It represents companies whose sales comprise more than 90 percent of the global market for medical imaging and radiation therapy technologies. For more information, visit Follow MITA on Twitter @MITAToday.