Purpose To study the awareness of postgraduate physician trainees across a variety of specialties regarding the costs of common imaging examinations. Methods During early 2016, we conducted an online survey of all 1,238 physicians enrolled in internships, residencies, and fellowships at a large academic medical center. Respondents were asked to estimate Medicare national average total allowable fees for five commonly performed examinations: two-view chest radiograph, contrast-enhanced CT abdomen and pelvis, unenhanced MRI lumbar spine, complete abdominal ultrasound, and unenhanced CT brain. Responses within ±25% of published amounts were deemed correct. Respondents were also asked about specialty, postgraduate year of training, previous radiology education, and estimated number of imaging examinations ordered per week. Results A total of 381 of 1,238 trainees returned complete surveys (30.8%). Across all five examinations, only 5.7% (109/1,905) of responses were within the correct ±25% range. A total of 76.4% (291/381) of all respondents incorrectly estimated every examination's cost. Estimation accuracy was not associated with number of imaging examinations ordered per week or year of training. There was no significant difference in cost estimation accuracy between those who participated in medical school radiology electives and those who did not (P =.14). Only 17.5% of trainees considered their imaging cost knowledge adequate. Overall, 75.3% desire integration of cost data into clinical decision support and/or computerized physician order entry systems. Conclusions Postgraduate physician trainees across all disciplines demonstrate limited awareness of the costs of commonly ordered imaging examinations. Targeted medical school education and integration of imaging cost information into clinical decision support / computerized physician order entry systems seems indicated.
- Costs of imaging
- health care economics
- medical student education
- resident and fellow education