Health care institutions that acquire an expensive, brand-new computed tomography (CT) scanner are likely to perform excessive scanning in an attempt to recover their investment as early as possible. We examined the association between the age of CT scanners and the number of CT scans at small-sized hospitals and clinics in Korea and assessed the notable increase in scanning quantity at health care institutions with a recently manufactured CT scanner.
A cross-sectional study designed to analyze whether the age of CT scanners was associated with the number of scans at small-sized hospitals and clinics that were operating a CT scanner for the full year 2008 (n = 703). Data were obtained by linking the National Health Insurance Claims Database and Health Care Institution Statistics.
A multiple regression analysis found that the older a CT scanner was, the fewer CT scans were performed in terms of annual total (β = −34.8; P < .001) and patient average (β = −0.0018; P = <.001).
Health care institutions with newer CT scanners administered more CT scans in terms of annual total and scans per patient. Because this may indicate the practice of excessive scanning with newly acquired equipment, it is necessary to have a system of regularly monitoring the quantity and retake rate of CT scanning in these health care institutions so as to prevent unnecessary use of CT.