Since the shift from a radiographic film-based system to that of a filmless system, the change in radiographic examination costs and costs structure have been undetermined. The activity-based costing (ABC) method measures the cost and performance of activities, resources, and cost objects. The purpose of this study is to identify the cost structure of a radiographic examination comparing a filmless system to that of a film-based system using the ABC method.
We calculated the costs of radiographic examinations for both a filmless and a film-based system, and assessed the costs or cost components by simulating radiographic examinations in a health clinic. The cost objects of the radiographic examinations included lumbar (six views), knee (three views), wrist (two views), and other. Indirect costs were allocated to cost objects using the ABC method.
The costs of a radiographic examination using a filmless system are as follows: lumbar 2,085 yen; knee 1,599 yen; wrist 1,165 yen; and other 1,641 yen. The costs for a film-based system are: lumbar 3,407 yen; knee 2,257 yen; wrist 1,602 yen; and other 2,521 yen. The primary activities were "calling patient," "explanation of scan," "take photographs," and "aftercare" for both filmless and film-based systems. The cost of these activities cost represented 36.0% of the total cost for a filmless system and 23.6% of a film-based system.
The costs of radiographic examinations using a filmless system and a film-based system were calculated using the ABC method. Our results provide clear evidence that the filmless system is more effective than the film-based system in providing greater value services directly to patients.