This study identifies the advanced imaging technology available to rural hospitals and assesses access to timely radiological interpretation of plain film and advanced technology images. Data were collected by a survey of hospital administrative personnel in all rural hospitals in an eight-state region of the Northwest.
Results indicate that local availability of advanced imaging technology varied from 92% for dedicated mammography units, 90% for ultrasonography, and 73% for computerized axial tomography to only 31% for MRI. Radiologists were on site in the rural hospitals some portion of 46% of the days each year; 39 of the rural hospitals had on-site radiological services less than once per week. This suggests that non-radiologists are major radiology service providers in rural America.