Can Balkan Health Care Budgets Withstand Overconsumption of Radiology Services?

Kragujevac, Serbia – In the last few years, Serbia has witnessed an increasing advancement of medical technologies, such as new diagnostic and therapeutic methods offered within the imaging diagnostics, interventional radiology, radiation therapy and nuclear medicine services. The heavy purchase price of some of these appliances and high maintenance costs (e.g. CT, NMR,), however, have contributed to a strong impact on the budget in Serbia and the acquisition of other medical technologies.

The technological and scientific revolution that is happening in the field of radiology is reshaping the clinical medicine landscape from within. Nevertheless, health economic evaluations on radiation-mediated diagnostic and treatment procedures are missing in the literature. The study, “Radiology Services Costs and Utilization Patterns Estimates in Southeastern Europe – A Retrospective Analysis from Serbia,” published in Value in Health Regional Issues, isone of the first Eastern European studies to compare radiological services patterns and costs in a large scale trial. Researchers from the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Kragujeva, conducted an in-depth, retrospective, bottom-up trend analysis of services consumption patterns and costs from the perspective of a third party payer for 205,576 inpatients of large tertiary care university hospital in Kragujevac, Serbia from 2007-2010.

The assessment encompassed costs matrix and patterns of radiology diagnostics, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine and interventional radiology services. Furthermore, hospital budget impact outsourcing from inappropriate resource allocation was explored.

Findings from the budget impact analysis confirmed the existence of irrational prescribing of diagnostic procedures and a necessity to cut costs. These consumption patterns should be an important momentum for policy makers to intervene and provide better clinician’s guidelines adherence.

The principal investigator of this study Mihajlo Jakovljevic, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacoeconomics at The Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Kragujevac states, “Patterns of imaging diagnostics utilization in Serbia expose the tendency of overprescribing. Strict evidence-based radiological examination guidelines would contribute to cost saving efforts in the future.”

Value in Health Regional Issues  (ISSN 2212-1099) is a scientific journal that encourages and enhances the science of pharmacoeconomic/health economic and health outcomes research and its use in health care decisions. The journal is published up to three times a year with one issue focusing on the Asia region, one issue focusing on the Latin America region, and one issue focusing on the Central & Eastern Europe, Western Asia and Africa regions.

The International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is a nonprofit, international, educational and scientific organization that strives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness of health care resource use to improve health.

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