Orthopedic Surgeons Have Inadequate Knowledge of the Cost of Trauma-Related Imaging Studies ORTHOPEDICS Schultz, B., Fogel, N., Finlay, A., Collinge, C., Githens, M. F., Higgins, T., Mehta, S., O'Toole, R., Summers, H., Bishop, J. A., Gardner, M. J. 2019; 42 (5): E454–E459


Radiographic imaging is integral to the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic injuries. Previous studies have shown that orthopedists consistently underestimate the price of implants, but their knowledge of imaging charges is unknown. This study evaluated whether orthopedic residents and faculty could accurately estimate charges of imaging modalities at their respective institutions. A survey with 10 common imaging studies was sent to 8 academic level I trauma centers. Participants estimated the total charge of each imaging modality. This was compared with the actual charge at their institution. Seven centers produced 162 responders: 74 faculty and 88 residents. The differences between the estimated cost and the billing charge were calculated and broken down by training level and imaging modality. Overall, imaging charges were underestimated by 31% (P<.001), with 19.4% of estimates being within 20% of actual charges (95% confidence interval, 19.1-19.9). There was no difference between training levels (P=.69). There was greater than 1000% variation in charges between institutions. Orthopedists across training levels underestimate hospital charges associated with common imaging studies, and there is a large variation in charges between centers. Awareness of charges is important because charges affect clinical decision making and are relevant to practicing both cost-conscious and clinically sound medicine. [Orthopedics. 2019; 42(5):e454-e459.].

View details for DOI 10.3928/01477447-20190627-04

View details for Web of Science ID 000487320700008

View details for PubMedID 31269218