How health economics can help radiology show value

4 April 2023

UQ Faculty of Medicine Adjunct Associate Professor Nick Brown is a busy clinician, but he sees the value of investing in health economics to ensure that healthcare consumers and purchasers can access high-value care.

profile photo of Dr Nic BrownAssociate Professor Brown specialises in interventional radiology, which uses medical imaging-guided techniques to diagnose and treat certain medical conditions without major surgery. The techniques of interventional radiology (IR) and interventional neuroradiology (INR) are characteristically less invasive, which leads to fewer complications, shorter hospitalisation periods, faster recovery times and lower costs.

There is growing evidence about how interventional radiology can contribute to better clinical outcomes at a lower cost. In his own postgraduate studies, Associate Professor Brown demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of radiology interventions to treat common renal cell carcinomas. He found that the use of ablations using percutaneous IR techniques done through the skin cost less and produced better patient outcomes than surgery.

“Clinicians and industry representatives frequently comment on how IR and INR have so much more to offer patients and hospitals”, Associate Professor Brown said.

“The role that value-based care and health economics have to play in demonstrating this value to the Australian health system is instrumental.”

 Interventional cardiologist using cardiovascular imaging system with fluoroscopic X-ray tube for interventional vascular procedures, for peripheral exams or electrophysiology.
Interventional cardiologists use cardiovascular imaging system with fluoroscopic X-ray tube for interventional vascular procedures, for peripheral exams or electrophysiology.

Now he is partnering with Associate Professor Haitham Tuffaha at UQ’s Centre for the Business and Economics of Health to build a research alliance with the medical imaging industry to integrate health economic methodologies into interventional radiology practice and decision-making.

“It’s so key to have both clinical and academic experts coming together in a collective effort,” Associate Professor Brown said.

“This really is an opportunity for interventional radiology and interventional neuroradiology to reshape the way healthcare is delivered. Health economics could be the silver bullet that elevates these specialties into the frontlines of patient care.”
- Associate Professor Nick Brown

Associate Professor Brown and Associate Professor Tuffaha are excited about the potential to start research with key sector representatives in 2023.

“By working together, we can develop methods, tools and training that enhance knowledge about the contributions of IR and INR,” said Associate Professor Tuffaha.

“Our foundation partners – Terumo Australia, Stryker Australia and the Interventional Radiology Society of Australia – have shown a real commitment to advancing and expanding IR and INR in ways that support whole-of-system value.”

For more information on the value of health economics to interventional radiology, contact Associate Professor Nick Brown ( or Associate Professor Haitham Tuffaha (