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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2017

Mobile radiography services in nursing homes: a systematic review of residents’ and societal outcomes

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2017
Elin Kjelle, Kristin Bakke Lysdahl
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12913-017-2173-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Demographic changes are leading to an ageing population in Europe, and predict an increase in the number of nursing home residents over the next 30 years. Nursing home residents need specialised healthcare services such as radiology due to both chronic and acute illnesses. Mobile radiography, x-ray examinations performed in the nursing homes, may be a good way of providing services to this population. The aim of this systematic review was to identify the outcomes of mobile radiography services for nursing home residents and society.


A systematic review based on searches in the Medline, Cochrane, PubMed, Embase and Svemed + databases was performed. Titles and abstracts were screened according to a predefined set of inclusion criteria: empirical studies in the geriatric population, and reports of mobile radiography services in a clinical setting. All publications were quality appraised using MMAT or CASP appraisal tools. Data were extracted using a summary table and results were narratively synthesised.


Ten publications were included. Three overarching outcomes were identified: 1) reduced number of hospitalisations and outpatient examinations or treatments, 2) reduced number of transfers between nursing homes and hospitals and 3) increased access to x-ray examinations. These outcomes were interlinked with the more specific outcomes for residents and society reported in the literature. For residents there was a reduction in burdensome transfers and waiting time and adequate treatment and care increased. For society, released resources could be used more efficiently, and overall costs were reduced substantially.


This review indicates that mobile radiography services for nursing home residents in the western world are of comparable quality to hospital-based examinations and have clear potential benefits. Mobile radiography reduced transfers to and from hospital, increased the number of examinations carried out and facilitated timely diagnosis and access to treatments. Further research is needed to formally evaluate potential improvements in care quality and cost-effectiveness.
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