Over the past two decades, there has been a notable increase in CT scan rates due to contributing factors such as higher patient-generated demands, improvements in medical imaging technology, and an aging population.
A longitudinal study published in PMC showed that between 1997 and 2006, all medical imaging modalities increased in the US, with CT scan posting one of the highest with 14% yearly growth. This means that over the ten-year period, the number of patients who had the procedure more than doubled.
Marketing research company Nielsen conducted a survey suggesting that today’s consumers are “willing to pay premium prices” to achieve their health goals. While millennials are the most proactive age group, the report has also shown that baby boomers–people born between 1946 and 1964–are also more engaged in their quest for “healthy aging” and “active and independent retirement.”
Today’s more health-conscious consumers, according to some researchers, may be contributing to the increasing demand for CT scan and other medical imaging procedures that promote early diagnosis of diseases.
With early diagnosis of illnesses, California’s leading mobile CT scan provider Catalina Imaging says that “patients can access immediate treatments, which results in high success rate and lower mortality rate.”
In addition, patients are becoming more involved in their healthcare, with many even insisting on a more individualized approach.
Surveys have shown a strong correlation between CT scan patients and old age; this is not surprising since aging is a disease risk factor.
Meanwhile, the US population is aging rapidly due to decreasing childbirth rates and longer life expectancy. In a 2017 US Census Bureau report, by 2030, when every baby boomer will reach the age of 65 years old, one out of five Americans will be of retirement age.
And by 2035, the report projected that there would be around 78 million people aged 65 years and older versus 76.7 million under the age of 18. This means that within a few years, there will be more seniors than children for the first time in the country’s history.
The aging population is not the only thing that contributes to the growing need for CT scans. Reports have also shown that the increasing popularity of homecare among the older population is another reason for the growing demand for bedside imaging.
While CT scanners have been around since the early 70s, it was only in the late 90s when technological advancements made it possible to “shrink” their size, giving birth to mobile CT scans.
Portable CT scanners–i.e., they are mounted on wheels and typically run on batteries–allow bedside imaging to become possible and fill in the gap left by fixed CT that is not accessible by some patients living in rural or remote areas.
Aside from portability, modern CT scan designs produce faster and higher quality images, allowing doctors to diagnose patients with better accuracy and perform treatments with greater precision.
In general, rural hospitals are only seen as critical care providers due to their outdated equipment, medical staff shortage, and other factors contributing to the healthcare disparity between city and rural areas. Furthermore, traveling for care has become a common practice even though this is not a viable option for all patients.
But with the advent of mobile CT scanners and other similar equipment, rural hospitals can now better serve local patients, especially those in-home care.
If you are a hospital administrator or radiology manager who needs a mobile CT scan, contact Catalina Imaging at (844) 949-1664 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our office is located at 3311 Swetzer Rd, Loomis, CA 95650.