Reining in the use of CT scans

CT scans have become much more common in the U.S. over the past few decades, increasing from 3 million in 1980 to almost 70 million in 2007. A change that drastic rightly raises concerns. Are all of these tests really necessary, or are some, or maybe many, done because they're now considered standard practice? What about increased exposure to radiation in patients who receive repeated scans over their lifetimes? Our cover story looks at whether these concerns are warranted, and what constitutes best practice when ordering CTs.

Also, our report from the American Society of Nephrology's annual meeting provides a snapshot of the current state of kidney transplantation in the U.S. With demand for kidneys rapidly outpacing supply, patients spend more time on waiting lists and “transplant tourism” can begin to seem more attractive. Part of the solution, experts said, could include raising awareness of living donation and further developing the concept of the donation chain, an innovative tool to increase the number of transplants done each year.

Due to the economic downturn, a desire to get back to treating patients, or myriad other reasons, physicians sometimes find themselves reentering clinical practice after retirement, an illness, or careers in academia, industry or other fields. Our story looks at the obstacles they might encounter and the resources they can use to get their knowledge and credentials up-to-date.

New regulations on e-prescribing kick in this year, and navigating the red tape that stands between you and your potential bonus while at the same time avoiding any penalties can be a daunting proposition. ACP's Washington office offers helpful information on the easiest ways to make the most of the new rules.

Whether you've just converted to an EHR or started e-prescribing, or are waiting a little longer before jumping in, we'd love to hear about your experiences.

Jennifer Kearney-Strouse