Image Sharing Technologies and Reduction of Imaging Utilization: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Joshua R. Vest, Hye Young Jung, Aaron Ostrovsky, Lala Tanmoy Das, Geraldine B. McGinty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Introduction Image sharing technologies may reduce unneeded imaging by improving provider access to imaging information. A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to summarize the impact of image sharing technologies on patient imaging utilization. Methods Quantitative evaluations of the effects of PACS, regional image exchange networks, interoperable electronic heath records, tools for importing physical media, and health information exchange systems on utilization were identified through a systematic review of the published and gray English-language literature (2004-2014). Outcomes, standard effect sizes (ESs), settings, technology, populations, and risk of bias were abstracted from each study. The impact of image sharing technologies was summarized with random-effects meta-analysis and meta-regression models. Results A total of 17 articles were included in the review, with a total of 42 different studies. Image sharing technology was associated with a significant decrease in repeat imaging (pooled effect size [ES] = –0.17; 95% confidence interval [CI] = [–0.25, –0.09]; P <.001). However, image sharing technology was associated with a significant increase in any imaging utilization (pooled ES = 0.20; 95% CI = [0.07, 0.32]; P =.002). For all outcomes combined, image sharing technology was not associated with utilization. Most studies were at risk for bias. Conclusions Image sharing technology was associated with reductions in repeat and unnecessary imaging, in both the overall literature and the most-rigorous studies. Stronger evidence is needed to further explore the role of specific technologies and their potential impact on various modalities, patient populations, and settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1371-1379.e3
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015



  • Health information exchange
  • data sharing
  • evaluation
  • radiology information systems
  • utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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