A report issued by a health research institute asserts that clinically-focused guidelines to study repeat medical imaging will help lawmakers, regulators, and insurers develop more effective utilization and payment policies. The report by the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute says such guidelines can ensure that patients receive essential access to care while also making more efficient use of health system resources.

“Existing studies on repeat imaging use ambiguous definitions, and thus lack a consistent and effective mechanism to determine how much of this testing is appropriate,” said Richard Duszak, MD, CEO and senior research fellow of the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute. “This has led to confusion and could result in actions by regulators and insurers that may not best serve patients. These guidelines can help researchers separate useful testing from that which is not, thus conserving resources and ensuring that patients get the care they need.”

These guidelines represent a classification system for researchers to follow when evaluating repeat medical imaging. They were developed with input from a large group of health policy researchers and clinical content experts and could be adapted to analyze a wide range of repeat non-imaging testing.