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Demand grows for advanced mammography systems


By Jaimy Lee
Posted: February 27, 2013 - 2:30 pm ET
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The average cost of digital mammography systems continues to rise as providers maintain interest in the 3-D digital breast tomosynthesis system, according to the most recent Modern Healthcare/ECRI Institute Technology Price Index.

The index provides monthly and annual price data for about 30 supply and capital items purchased by hospitals and other healthcare providers, based on three-month rolling averages.

“Prices of the really advanced systems are going through the roof,” said Jason Launders, the ECRI Institute's director of operations. “The definite shift in the market is toward the advanced systems.”

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The Food and Drug Administration granted approval to Hologic's Selenia Dimensions 3-D system in February 2011. It's the only imaging technology of its kind on the market in the U.S.

The average cost of a digital mammography system is $333,379, which is more than double the price of a base imaging model, Launders said. The average cost of the newer technology rose less than 1% from November to December of last year, but increased 28.2% during 2012.

What has been surprising is that provider interest has remained high even with no changes in reimbursement, Launders said. However, he added that hospitals may be betting that new clinical evidence will lead to future reimbursement changes or to patients who may be willing to pay more for the imaging.

ECRI included the technology on its Top 10 C-Suite Watch List for 2012, noting then that it required “considerable capital and operational resources.”


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