Having so much excess expensive medical diagnostic equipment is a “problem” that most people in the world would love to have. Yet, in the United State, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines are so common and available, they can be used even when they aren’t necessary.
“Close to 40 million Magnetic Resonance Imaging procedures are performed annually. These MRIs enable doctors to peer deep inside the body, helping them to diagnose ailments or diseases in a non-invasive way.
“But the technology may also be exploited, according to new research by Gary Young, a professor of strategic management and healthcare systems. His study shows that doctors are often pressured to prescribe unnecessary MRIs procedures in order to funnel money to hospitals—thereby escalating the costs of healthcare.
“‘This isn’t a gray area,’ says Young, who directs Northeastern’s Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Research. ‘This is an area where these patients shouldn’t be referred for an MRI.’
“Though MRIs are relatively harmless to the patient, Young notes that the willingness to authorize unnecessary imagings heightens concerns that other types of inappropriate procedures—including surgeries—may be referred to patients inappropriately.”
As noted, an MRI isn’t some unnecessary surgery or really risky at all. If you think having so many MRIs that they can be easily scheduled for such minor reasons is a problem, then try living in a country where those who really need an MRI can’t get one because the wait is too long.