Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 14(4) November 2011 : 84-84.doi:10.12927/hcq.2011.22656

Medical Imaging in Canada

  • In 2009–2010, 1.4 million magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams and 4.2 million computed tomography (CT) exams were performed on Canadian patients.
  • In 2009–2010, the numbers of MRI and CT exams increased by 6.9% and 6.2% respectively over the previous year.
  • The number of medical imaging exams performed in Canada nearly doubled over the past six years.
  • In 2009–2010, rates of MRI exams were twice as high in Alberta and Ontario (at 51 and 50 per 1,000 people, respectively) than they were in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador (26 and 25 per 1,000, respectively).
  • Rates of CT exams also varied significantly between provinces, with highs of 197 per 1,000 people in New Brunswick, and 168 per 1,000 in Nova Scotia, compared with lows of 110 per 1,000 in British Columbia and 113 per 1,000 in Ontario.
  • As of January 1, 2010, there were 281 MRI scanners and 484 CT scanners operational in Canada; an increase of 15 MRI and 20 CT scanners over the previous year and an increase of 124 MRI and 143 CT scanners since 2004.
  • Despite continued growth in the number of exams and machines, Canada performs fewer diagnostic imaging exams relative to population size than the average among countries in the OECD.
  • Internationally, rates of MRI exams varied from a low of 13 per 1,000 in Korea to a high of 98 per 1,000 in Greece, while CT rates ranged from 60 per 1,000 in the Netherlands to 321 per 1,000 in Greece.
  • Canada's rates of CT and MRI exams were higher than those in Denmark and Australia but lower than those in the United States and France.


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