New, statistically derived guidelines are helping urologists across Michigan zero in on which prostate cancer patients to scan for spread of their disease.
The guidelines—identified and distributed through a data analytics study by urology and engineering researchers at the University of Michigan and elsewhere—reduced the number of patients who underwent diagnostic bone and CT scans by more than 40 percent while slightly improving detection rate of cancer that had spread, or metastasized, during the study.
The reduced scanning also saved patients and insurers an estimated $275,000.
"Traditionally, urologists have relied on their individual expertise and experience to decide who should be scanned," said IHPI member Brian Denton, professor of industrial and operations engineering at the U-M College of Engineering and professor of urology at the U-M Medical School.
"These guidelines provide a new tool that will help them administer scans to more people who do need them and fewer people who don't. And the fact that we're using actual data from the state of Michigan, where the urologists and patients reside, is critically important."