The Role of Imaging Equipment Vendors and Physician Self Referral

The Huffington Post—August 26, 2009

by Helene Pavlov, MD, FACR
Hospital for Special Surgery

Vendor incentives have always been there, but never to the extent that they are now. Basically, vendors will sell to anyone that has the money to buy the machineā€¦ that's how they make their profit. This happens specifically with ultrasound equipment because it is less expensive and vendors emphasize to potential buyers that, "You're not going to do any damage to the patient; you're not going to be using ionizing radiation."

Non-radiology physicians, however, do not fall under the scrutiny of the American Board of Radiology, which requires written and oral examinations and verification of four years of training to be a board-certified radiologist. Patients, and possibly third-party payers, are not always aware of that.

Patients need to ask: "Who is taking my image? Who will be reading that image?"

The answer should always be: "A trained, certified, radiology technologist should take the image under the supervision of a board-certified radiologist and only a board-certified (preferably a subspecialty fellowship-trained) radiologist should be interpreting the image."

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