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Radiology. 2009 Apr;251(1):147-55. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2511081174. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

Effect of computerized order entry with integrated decision support on the growth of outpatient procedure volumes: seven-year time series analysis.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Florida Health Center, PO Box 100374, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.



To determine the effect of a computerized radiology order entry (ROE) and decision support (DS) system on growth rate of outpatient computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and ultrasonography (US) procedure volumes over time at a large metropolitan academic medical center.


Institutional review board approval was obtained for this study of deidentified aggregate administrative data. The research was compliant with HIPAA; informed consent was waived. This was a retrospective study of outpatient advanced imaging utilization before, during, and after implementation of a Web-based ROE and DS system. Dependent variables were the quarterly volumes of outpatient CT, MR imaging, and US examinations from quarter 4 of 2000 through quarter 4 of 2007. Outpatient visits during each quarter were included as control variables. These data were analyzed as three separate time series with piecewise linear regression for simultaneous estimation of quarterly examination volume trends before and after ROE and DS system implementation. This procedure was repeated with log-transformed quarterly volumes to estimate percentage growth rates.


There was a significant decrease in CT volume growth (274 per quarter) and growth rate (2.75% per quarter) after ROE and DS system implementation (P < .001). For MR imaging, growth rate decreased significantly (1.2%, P = .016) after ROE and DS system implementation; however, there was no significant change in quarterly volume growth. With US, quarterly volume growth (n = 98, P = .014) and growth rate (1.3%, P = .001) decreased significantly after ROE implementation. These changes occurred during a steady growth in clinic visit volumes in the associated referral practices.


Substantial decreases in the growth of outpatient CT and US procedure volume coincident with ROE implementation (supplemented by DS for CT) were observed. The utilization of outpatient MR imaging decreased less impressively, with only the rate of growth being significantly lower after interventions were in effect.

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