Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The machine that's ruining health care

"According to the latest data, the United States has just over one MRI scanner for every 40,000 people. That number that may not sound high, but it means that we have more than three times as many devices per person as you will find in the United Kingdom or France, and almost four times as many as in Canada. Only Japan, an MRI-happy outlier, has more."

"Obviously, the MRI is an extremely useful tool, giving doctors an ability to see inside the body and diagnose conditions that would otherwise require them to probe and cut into their patients' bodies. It is also expensive to buy -- at about $2 million -- and expensive to operate. Worse, the machine is used aggressively for tests such as breast-cancer screening and yields a high rate of false positives that lead, in turn, to unnecessary surgeries"

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