Radiologists are a vital part of acute and chronic care teams. These physicians use medical imaging technology – such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and others – to diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses in patients.
Below, we’ve compiled the top radiology procedures at imaging centers by total charges and by volume using claims analytics.
Fig 1 Data from Definitive Healthcare’s platform on commercial claims analytics. Top CPT codes are from imaging center reports from CY 2018 and include diagnostic radiology procedures.
Diagnostic mammography (CPT 77067) is the top radiology procedure by total charges, with more than $718 million. This is unsurprising, as breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women, and among the top two causes of death for women regardless of ethnicity. According to Definitive Healthcare’s claims analytics platform, physicians reported more than 187,000 breast cancer diagnoses in 2018, making regular screenings an integral part of preventative health.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) made up 60 percent of the list by total charges. MRIs are used to take pictures of both anatomy and physiological processes using magnets, providing a picture of various organs. Images of the brain stem and spine were most common on the list, followed by images of the abdomen.
Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (bone density scan), axial
Ultrasound exam, abdomen, complete
Fig 2 Data from Definitive Healthcare’s platform on commercial claims data. Top CPT codes are from imaging center reports from CY 2018 and include diagnostic radiology procedures.
In the list of top radiology procedures by volume, diagnostic mammography also took the top spot by total volume with over 2.4 million procedures. Breast tomosynthesis, or a 3-D mammography, is also on the list at number four. Both the second and third spots are taken by chest x-rays, with a combined 4 million procedures. This is unsurprising, as chest x-rays can detect a wide variety of conditions. Some of the most common chest-related conditions include cancer, infections, cystic fibrosis, and other illnesses that impact the heart and lungs.
There are three primary specialties these physicians fall into: diagnostic radiologists, interventional radiologists, and radiation oncologists. Once a physician refers a patient for radiological testing, a diagnostic radiologist becomes a consultant in deciding on and executing the best course of action for an individual. Diagnostic radiologists are also responsible for performing exams, interpreting the data, and presenting results to other care providers.
Interventional radiologists diagnose and treat patients using minimally invasive (laparoscopic), image-guided procedures that target the source of a medical issue. These specialists primarily treat conditions like heart disease, cancer, and stroke, as laparoscopic procedures generally offer less risk and faster patient recovery times. Radiation oncologists oversee care plans for patients with cancer, often with radiation therapy. They also monitor patient progress to ensure the effectiveness of radiation treatments.
Looking for more information on radiology and other outpatient procedures? Definitive Healthcare’s comprehensive platform tracks diagnosis and procedure data on more than 7,700 hospitals and IDNs in the U.S., including all-payor claims data updated every month. Want to learn more? Sign up for a free trial today!