Efficiency: Imaging Efficiency 

Project Status: Completed

Endorsing Imaging Efficiency Standards

Access the Final Report: National Voluntary Consensus Standards for Imaging Efficiency: A Consensus Report 

The Opportunity

There is a clear need for measurement and research regarding the appropriate and effective use of imaging in a clinical setting. Medicare spends approximately $14 billion annually on outpatient imaging studies. 1  It is imperative to clarify which imaging procedures and technologies result in improvements in patient care and possible decreases in healthcare costs.

The goal of these consensus standards is to identify specific imaging efficiency measurement domains, which include duplication, overlap, screening, negative studies, non-contrast imaging of the same body part using the same imaging modality followed shortly thereafter but on separate occasions with contrast imaging, imaging of adjacent body parts, and coordination of care. Given the specific inclusion of overuse of imaging procedures in the National Priorities and Goals developed by the National Priorities Partnership, it is anticipated that these measures will seek to improve the rate of cost growth and enhance the quality of care provided.

About the Project

The Imaging Efficiency project began in November 2009. It is a follow-up to the Outpatient Imaging Efficiency project that was completed in November 2008.


This project seeks to identify and endorse measures for public reporting and quality improvement related to resource use and care coordination for hospital outpatient imaging.


Candidate imaging efficiency measures will be considered for NQF endorsement as national voluntary consensus standards. Agreement will be developed through NQF’s Consensus Development Process (CDP, version 1.8). This project involves the active participation of representatives from across the spectrum of healthcare stakeholders and is guided by a Steering Committee.


This project is funded under NQF's Department of Health and Human Services contract, Consensus-based Entities Regarding Healthcare Performance Measurement.

Related NQF Work

Contact Information

For more information, please contact Heidi Bossley, MSN, MBA at 202-783-1300 or via email at imagingefficiency2@qualityforum.org.


 1. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Medicare Part B Imaging Services: Rapid Spending Growth and Shift to Physician Offices Indicate Need for CMS to Consider Additional Management Practices, Washington, DC: GPO; 2008. Available at www.gao.gov/new.items/d08452.pdf. Last accessed October 2009.

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