Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

Carolyn Watts

Second Advisor

Henry Carretta

Third Advisor

Askar Chukmaitov

Fourth Advisor

Jeffrey Legg


The use of computed tomography (CT) in the care of patients has grown dramatically since its introduction over 30 years ago. The vast majority of the utilization research has focused on factors associated with the variable use in the outpatient and emergency department settings. This has left much of the inpatient use and variation understudied. This study has multiple aims. The first is to characterize the inpatient variation across multiple states and markets. The second is to evaluate the relationship between inpatient CT use and commercial payers across these areas. The third is to develop a model to evaluate the relationship between inpatient CT use and the characteristics of markets, hospitals, and patients.

The study uses a four-state convenience sample of cross-sectional data for hospitals. It included non-Federal, acute care hospitals that reported the performance of inpatient CT exams during 2015 (N=181). The literature review was used to justify the inclusion of variables in the study. The descriptive analyses were used to justify the appropriateness of the variables and methodology for testing.

A comparison of means demonstrated the significant differences for inpatient utilization between states. A univariate general linear model demonstrated a negative relationship with a hospital’s proportion of commercially insured patients and the inpatient utilization rate. An ordinary least squares multivariate linear regression was used to test for variable significance within each of three constructs: markets, hospitals, and patients. The results indicated that inpatient CT rates were positively associated with higher level of insurer concentration (market), positively associated with system centralization (hospitals), and negatively associated with a hospital’s increasing proportion of minority patient discharges (patients).

The study serves an important function in identifying varying patterns of CT utilization across the full spectrum of inpatients across multiple states, regardless of payer. It also creates new knowledge about how the characteristics of these markets, hospitals, and patients are related to inpatient use. It also provides implications for administrators, researchers, and policy makers. The additional knowledge and understanding provided by this research have the potential to lead to improvements in the appropriate and equitable use of inpatient CT exams.


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