Improved diagnostic certainty in emergency department may lead to reduced overall cost

Massachusetts General Hospital

Release date: January 21, 2011

The use of CT scanning to evaluate abdominal pain in emergency departments can help physicians arrive at a diagnosis quickly and decisively.  A study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and appearing in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology also finds that information provided by CT scans changed treatment plans for almost half the patients studied and significantly reduced probable hospital admissions. 

"Our report addresses an important question with substantial policy relevance – what is the value of CT scanning in the emergency department setting?" says Scott Gazelle, MD, MPH, PhD, an MGH radiologist and director of the Institute for Technology Assessment, senior author of the study. "We specifically looked at how the use of CT for patients with abdominal pain affects physicians' thinking about their patients' diagnosis, their confidence in the diagnosis and the treatment plan; and we found that it significantly affected all three." 

PCORT alumna Alexi Wright, MD was recently featured on ABC News. Dr. Wright's research is studying the impact of end-of-life discussions on patient treatment.

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Inge Lennes, MD - oncologist and 2010-2012 PCORT Fellow is featured.