Geographic Distribution of CT, MRI and PET Devices in Japan: A Longitudinal Analysis Based on National Census Data
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Japan has the most CT and MRI scanners per unit population in the world; however, the geographic distribution of these technologies is currently unknown. Moreover, nothing is known of the cause-effect relationship between the number of diagnostic imaging devices and their geographic distribution.
Data on the number of CT, MRI and PET devices and that of their utilizations in all 1829 municipalities of Japan was generated, based on the Static Survey of Medical Institutions conducted by the government. The inter-municipality equity of the number of devices or utilizations was evaluated with Gini coefficient.
Between 2005 and 2011, the number of CT, MRI and PET devices in Japan increased by 47% (8789 to 12945), 19% (5034 to 5990) and 70% (274 to 466), respectively. Gini coefficient of the number of devices was largest for PET and smallest for CT (p for PET-MRI difference <0.001; MRI-CT difference <0.001). For all three modalities, Gini coefficient steadily decreased (p for 2011-2005 difference: <0.001 for CT; 0.003 for MRI; and <0.001 for PET). The number of devices in old models (single-detector CT, MRI<1.5 tesla, and conventional PET) decreased, while that in new models (multi-detector CT, MRI1.5 tesla, and PET-CT) increased. Gini coefficient of the old models increased or remained unchanged (increase rate of 9%, 3%, and -1%; p for 2011-2008 difference <0.001, 0.072, and 0.562, respectively), while Gini coefficient of the new models decreased (-10%, -9%, and -10%; p for 2011-2008 difference <0.001, <0.001, and <0.001 respectively). Similar results were observed in terms of utilizations.
The more abundant a modality, the more equal the modality’s distribution. Any increase in the modality made its distribution more equal. The geographic distribution of the diagnostic imaging technology in Japan appears to be affected by spatial competition derived from a market force.
This study was supported by Health and Labour Sciences Research Grants of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Tokyo, Japan (H25 - Research on Region Medical - 006).
Public Library of Science
© 2015 Matsumoto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.