Inappropriate imaging utilization in Texas: Geographic variation and predictive factors

Cecilia Ganduglia Cazaban, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Objective::Describe and understand regional differences and associated multilevel factors (patient, provider and regional) to inappropriate utilization of advance imaging tests in the privately insured population of Texas. Methods: We analyzed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas claims dataset to study the advance imaging utilization during 2008-2010 in the PPO/PPO+ plans. We used three of CMS "Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting" imaging efficiency measures. These included ordering MRI for low back pain without prior conservative management (OP-8) and utilization of combined with and without contrast abdominal CT (OP-10) and thorax CT (OP-11). Means and variation by hospital referral regions (HRR) in Texas were measured and a multilevel logistic regression for being a provider with high values for any the three OP measures was used in the analysis. We also analyzed OP-8 at the individual level. A multilevel logistic regression was used to identify predictive factors for having an inappropriate MRI for low back pain. Results: Mean OP-8 for Texas providers was 37.89%, OP-10 was 29.94% and OP-11 was 9.24%. Variation was higher for CT measure. And certain HRRs were consistently above the mean. Hospital providers had higher odds of high OP-8 values (OP-8: OR, 1.34; CI, 1.12-1.60) but had smaller odds of having high OP-10 and OP-11 values (OP-10: OR, 0.15; CI, 0.12-0.18; OP-11: OR, 0.43; CI, 0.34-0.53). Providers with the highest volume of imaging studies performed, were less likely to have high OP-8 measures (OP-8: OR, 0.58; CI, 0.48-0.70) but more likely to perform combined thoracic CT scans (OP-11: OR, 1.62; CI, 1.34-1.95). Males had higher odds of inappropriate MRI (OR, 1.21; CI, 1.16-1.26). Pattern of care in the six months prior to the MRI event was significantly associated with having an inappropriate MRI. Conclusion::We identified a significant variation in advance imaging utilization across Texas. Type of facility was associated with measure performance, but the associations differ according to the type of study. Last, certain individual characteristics such as gender, age and pattern of care were found to be predictors of inappropriate MRIs.

Subject Area

Public health|Medical imaging|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Ganduglia Cazaban, Cecilia, "Inappropriate imaging utilization in Texas: Geographic variation and predictive factors" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3552560.