Obtaining Imaging Cost and Quality Information in Femoroacetabular Impingement: The Patient Experience

Chris A. Anthony, Edward O. Rojas, Natalie Glass, Robert W. Westermann, John C. Clohisy, Stuart L. Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Recent changes in healthcare have placed increased emphasis on price transparency, quality measures, and improving the patient experience. However, limited information is available for patient cost of obtaining a hip MRI and factors associated with cost variability. For a patient with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), this study sought to report (1) the availability of pricing and quality information for a hip magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the state of Iowa, (2) the time investment required to obtain pricing and quality information, and (3) factors that influence hip MRI cost, quality and the time investment required for patients to obtain cost and quality information. Methods: Within the state of Iowa, 126 unique hospital institutions and 30 active, private orthopaedic practices were identified. All 156 providers were contacted via telephone using a standardized script of a hypothetical 25-year-old adult male patient with FAI requesting a quote for a hip MRI. Cost of the MRI and its components, availability of payment discounts, and MRI magnet tesla (T) were requested. A final bundled cost (FBC) was calculated for each MRI provider with all available services and discounts applied. The total amount of time needed to obtain a quote from each location was recorded. Results: One hundred and thirty-six of the 156 institutions contacted provided hip MRI services (87%). Median call duration was 9.1 minutes (Range 2.3-25.6). Median FBC was $2,114.00 (Range $484.75-4,463.00) across all providers. Hospital median FBC was $2,261.70 (Range $909.62-4,463.00) versus $1,225.13 (Range $484.75-2,218.40) for independent imaging centers (P<0.0001). No difference in median cost was observed between nine available 3.0 T machines and eighty-nine 1.5 T machines (P=0.2655). Conclusions: MRI cost varies widely across the state of Iowa and within individual metropolitan areas. Hip MRIs cost less at independent imaging centers compared to hospital locations. The amount of time required to obtain quality and cost data for a hip MRI presents a substantial time burden for patients with FAI. Surgeons, healthcare systems, and policy makers should be cognizant of the large price differences for a hip MRI and the time burden placed on patients with FAI to obtain this information.Level of Evidence: IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-190
Number of pages6
JournalThe Iowa orthopaedic journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • cost analysis
  • femoroacetabular impingement (fai)
  • imaging quality
  • magnetic resonance imaging (mri)


Dive into the research topics of 'Obtaining Imaging Cost and Quality Information in Femoroacetabular Impingement: The Patient Experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this