A new study of roughly 20,000 Veterans Affairs system patients undergoing diagnostic imaging for peripheral vascular disease (PVD) from 1999 to 2004 shows significant cost savings with contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (CE-MRA) as compared with digital subtraction angiography (DSA).
The study also found that the Veterans Affairs system could have realized a cost savings of more than $13 million during the six-year period if CE-MRA had been chosen over DSA for patients not requiring or planning follow-up procedures within 30 days.
This is the first research of its kind that looks at cost savings associated with imaging modalities in the VA system. The findings were presented at the Ninth Annual European Congress of the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research in Copenhagen.
Led by Joel W. Hay, associate professor of pharmaceutical economics and policy in the USC School of Pharmacy, the study, “Cost Impact of Diagnostic Imaging of Lower Extremity Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD),” was conducted by a team of researchers from the VA Cooperative Studies, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Harvard Medical School, USC and Berlex Laboratories.
“We were impressed with the magnitude of cost savings available with CE-MRA in these patients,” Hay said. “In an era of cost containment, it is essential that clinicians and institutions be aware of the potential cost savings of various treatment and imaging modalities. While additional research is needed, our data show that for a substantial proportion of patients using CE-MRA as the initial imaging modality offers considerable cost savings, while providing optimum patient care.”