Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Radiology: A Systematic Review

Alice Zhou, David M. Yousem, Matthew D. Alvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs) have become more prevalent in radiology. However, the lack of standard methodology may lead to conflicting conclusions on the cost-effectiveness of an imaging modality and hinder CEA-based policy recommendations. This study reviews recent CEAs to identify areas of methodological variation, explore their impact on interpretation, and discuss optimal strategies for performing CEAs in radiology. Methods: We performed a systematic review for cost-utility analyses in radiology from 2013 to 2017. Cost and quality-of-life methods were analyzed and compared using the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards checklist. Results: Eighty cost-utility studies met our inclusion criteria. A payer perspective was the most common (70%) and hospital perspective the least common (5%). Fourteen studies (17.5%) did not report perspective, and 12 (15%) reported a perspective inconsistent with their performed analysis. Cost inclusion varied greatly between studies; adverse effects of imaging (20.5%) and hospitalization (34.6%) were the least frequently included direct costs. Studies that measured their own utilities most commonly used the EuroQol-5D and Short Form-6D questionnaires; however, most studies (80%) cited utilities from previous literature. Seventy-two studies (90%) used willingness-to-pay thresholds, and 30 used cost-effectiveness acceptability curves (41.7%). Conclusion: We observed statistically significant methodological variation indicating the need for a standardized, accurate means of performing and presenting CEAs within radiology. We make several recommendations to address key problems regarding study perspective, cost inclusion, and use of willingness-to-pay thresholds. Further work is required to ensure comparability and transparency between studies such that policymakers are properly informed when utilizing CEA results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Cost effectiveness
  • cost utility
  • outcomes
  • QALY
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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