This interim report presents preliminary usage and cost data from the MRI Assessment Program and is intended as the first of a series during the life of this health technology assessment project. The report should be regarded as an indication of progress made during the initial months of routine operation of the first MRI scanners at hospitals participating in the program.

The data give an incomplete picture of the use of the technology and additional detail will be provided in later reports. The cost data are subject to audit and at this stage should be regarded as an initial guide to levels of capital and operating expenditure for some currently available MRI scanners.  It should be noted that, because capital expenditure in the program has been met by government grants, the costing model used in the MRI program does not include a component for interest charges.


The MRI Assessment Program involves installation and operation of five MRI units in public hospitals and the evaluation at each unit of the cost and efficacy of the technology over a period of two years.

The program is a joint project between the Commonwealth and State Governments.  It is co-ordinated by the National Health Technology Advisory Panel (NHTAP) and managed by the Panel's MRI Technical Committee which includes NHTAP members, a representative from the Royal Australasian College of Radiologists and representatives from each participating hospital.  Administrative support is provided by the NHTAP Secretariat.

Capital costs have been met by Commonwealth and State government grants.  A Commonwealth Health Program Grant has been arranged for the employment of staff at the hospitals to allow for the conduct of the assessment program.  State governments have been responsible for the selection of hospitals and the purchase, installation and operation of the MRI equipment.  Each MRI unit is providing routine diagnostic services in addition to conducting assessment work.