Objectives: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scanners are high-tech equipment with the highest utilizations and expenditures in Taiwan. This study investigates the factors that affect MRI and CT utilization, such as whether supply-side factors have more impact than demand-side factors, and the effect of utilization control policies. Methods: This study used the nationwide CT and MRI claim data for the years 1998 to 2001 from the Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI) in Taiwan. Multiple regression analysis was the statistical method used to determine the relative factors that influence CT and MRI utilization. Results: CT : population ratio, hospital-based physician : population ratio, female ratio, pediatric (≤14 years) : population ratio, and family income significantly influenced CT utilization. MRI : population ratio and hospital-based physician : population ratio, female ratio, and family income significantly influenced MRI utilization. However, the proportion of the aged (≥65 years of age) did not significantly influence CT or MRI utilization after controlling for other factors. The rates of CT and MRI utilization for the outpatient and inpatient settings and the repeated uses of CT or MRI have decreased significantly after a utilization review was implemented by BNHI, which suggests that CT and MRI have been overused.Conclusions: Increases in supply-side factors significantly increase CT/MRI utilization,and supply-side factors impact CT/MRI utilization more than demand-side factors. The results show that the utilization instant report policy effectively decreases repeated uses of CT/MRI.
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care,21(1):81-88.