Compare health care utilization and charges for low‐back‐pain () patients receiving advanced imaging or physical therapy as a first management strategy following a new primary care consultation.
Electronic medical record () and insurance claims data.
Retrospective analysis of propensity‐matched groups.
Claims and data were used. Utilization and ‐related charges over a 1‐year period were extracted from claims data.
In the propensity‐matched sample ( = 406), advanced imaging recipients had higher odds of all utilization outcomes. Charges were higher with advanced imaging by an average $4,793 (95 percent : $3,676, $5,910).
For patients with whom newly consulted primary care referred for additional management, advanced imaging as a first management was associated with higher health care utilization and charges than physical therapy.