Despite the overall availability of more healthcare resources in "high intensity" areas -- regions in the country with larger populations and a higher demand for medical services -- a significant percentage of American physicians are not satisfied with their access to diagnostic tests for patients, a recent study finds.
An article published in the May 2006 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine looked at physician perceptions of healthcare quality in 51 metropolitan and nine nonmetropolitan areas in the U.S. The survey, which interviewed 10,577 physicians, included questions such as "How often are you able to obtain high-quality diagnostic imaging services when you think it is necessary?"
Thirty percent of physicians surveyed who practice in high intensity areas did not believe they were "always or almost always able" to obtain needed diagnostic services, compared to 17 percent of physicians working in low intensity areas.
The article did not describe why physicians responded as they did, but researchers suggested that higher demand, actual differences in quality and availability or a relative shortage of diagnostic services in high intensity regions could be factors.