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Self-referred whole-body CT imaging: current implications for health care consumers
Journal Article

PURPOSE: To conduct an empirical analysis of self-referred whole-body computed tomography (CT) and develop a profile of the geographic and demographic distribution of centers, types of services and modalities, costs, and procedures for reporting results. MATERIALS AND METHODS: An analysis was conducted of Web sites for imaging centers accepting self-referred patients identified by two widely used Internet search engines with large indexes. These Web sites were analyzed for geographic location, type of screening center, services, costs, and procedures for managing imaging results. Demographic data were extrapolated for analysis on the basis of center location. Descriptive statistics, such as frequencies, means, SDs, ranges, and CIs, were generated to describe the characteristics of the samples. Data were compared with national norms by using a distribution-free method for calculating a 95% CI (P <.05 for="" the="" median.="" results:="" eighty-eight="" centers="" identified="" with="" search="" methods="" were="" widely="" distributed="" across="" united="" states="" a="" concentration="" on="" both="" coasts.="" demographic="" analysis="" further="" situated="" them="" in="" areas="" of="" country="" characterized="" by="" population="" that="" consisted="" largely="" european="" americans="" and="" individuals="" higher="" education="" socioeconomic="" status="" forty-seven="" offered="" whole-body="" screening="" heart="" lung="" examinations="" most="" frequently="" offered.="" procedures="" reporting="" results="" highly="" variable.="" conclusion:="" geographic="" distribution="" suggests="" target="" populations="" educated="" health-conscious="" consumers="" who="" can="" assume="" high="" out-of-pocket="" costs.="" guidelines="" developed="" from="" within="" profession="" research="" are="" needed="" to="" ensure="" benefits="" these="" services="" outweigh="" risks="" health="" care="" system.="">

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