UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology

Publication Date


Document Type



Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Health Services Administration | International Public Health | Radiology


Access to imaging diagnostics has been shown to result in accurate treatment, management, and optimal outcomes. Particularly in low-income and low-middle-income countries (LICs, LMICs), access is limited due to a lack of adequate resources. To achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, access to imaging services is critical at every tier of the health system. Optimizing imaging services in low-resource settings is best accomplished by prescriptive, integrated, and coordinated tiered service delivery that takes contextual factors into consideration. To our knowledge, this is the first recommendation for optimized, specific imaging care delivery by tier. A model for tier-based essential imaging services informs and guides policymakers as they set priorities and make budgetary decisions. In this paper, we recommend a framework for tiered imaging services essential to reduce the global burden of disease and attain universal health coverage (UHC). A lack of access to basic imaging services, even at the lowest tier of the health system, can no longer be justified by cost. Worldwide, affordable modalities of modern ultrasound and X-ray are becoming an accessible mainstay for the investigation of common conditions such as pregnancy, pneumonia, and fractures, and are safely performed and interpreted by qualified professionals. Finally, given the vast gap in access to imaging resources between LMICs and high-income countries (HICs), a scale-up of tiered imaging services in low-resource settings has the potential to reduce health disparities between, and within countries. As the access to appropriately integrated imaging services improves, UHC may be achieved.


Diagnostic imaging, Global health, Population health, Radiology

Rights and Permissions

Copyright © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

DOI of Published Version



DeStigter K, Pool KL, Leslie A, Hussain S, Tan BS, Donoso-Bach L, Andronikou S. Optimizing integrated imaging service delivery by tier in low-resource health systems. Insights Imaging. 2021 Sep 16;12(1):129. doi: 10.1186/s13244-021-01073-8. PMID: 34529166; PMCID: PMC8444174. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Insights into imaging

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.