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  • 1 CSIC/UAM Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas "Alberto Sols" Madrid Spain Madrid Spain
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Abstract  

The aim of this work was to provide a rational frame for the design of scientific policies in MR infrastructure implementation. To this end, we have investigated the relationships between MR instruments, their scientific productivity or medical performance and several socio-economic, R&D or health care indicators in a Spanish and European context. The distribution of MR spectroscopy instruments among Spanish Autonomous Communities suggests that the allocation policy resulted from a compromise between the pull of demand based on regional strength in R&D activities and the push of convergence criteria to bring underdeveloped regions up to a national standard. On the whole, the average value for Spanish MR spectroscopy equipment (1.6 units per TRDP) was within the average value of 1.7 found in 6 European countries. The scientific productivity of these spectrometres in Spain (10.3 publications per unit), compares with the ratio (12.4) found in the United Kingdom and was above the six countries' average (8.3). Larger differences in productivity were observed between Spanish Autonomous Communities, suggesting the existence of important laguna in the distributive side of the allocation policy. Consistent with its socio-sanitary importance, the regional distribution of MR imaging equipment in Spain correlated with the number of sanitary personnel and regional population or wealth. The average number of installed units per million inhabitants in Spain (3.3) is very close to the average found in five European countries and the diagnostic procedures per installed units are close to the 5 countries' average values of 3400/year. However, the scientific productivity of MR imaging equipment in Spain (1.6 publications per installed unit in the five year period) was very low as compared with other European countries (3.7 on average). Higher diagnostic demand or lower publication pressures could explain these differences equally well. Our results suggest that increases in scientific productivity and medical performance of MR instrumentation in Spanish Autonomous Communities may not necessarily involve a net increase in the number of MR instruments but rather, improvements in the global socio-economic throughputs derived from the organisation of R&D and medical service policies.