Radiologist workload increases 7%, but work hours remain the same thanks to IT
Source. Radiologists’ workloads grew substantially in the past few years, with procedures increasing 7 % and physician work relative value units (RVUs) increasing 10 % from 2002-2003 to 2006-2007, according to research published in this month’s Radiology by Mythreyi Bhargavan, PhD, from the research department at the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the department of radiology and radiological science at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues.In 2006-2007, the researchers reported that the average annual workload per FTE radiologist was 14,900 procedures, an increase of 7 % since 2002-2003 and 34 % since 1991-1992. Annual RVUs per FTE radiologist were 10,200, an increase of 10 % since 2002-2003 and 70.3 % since 1991-1992.Bhargavan and colleagues found that academic practices performed about 1⁄3 fewer procedures per FTE radiologist than others. In most types of practice, radiologists in a 75th-percentile practice performed at least 65 % more procedures annually than radiologists in a 25th-percentile practice. The researchers said that their regression analysis showed that practices that used external off-hours teleradiology services performed 27 % more procedures than otherwise similar practices that did not use these services. Workload varied substantially among similar practices.The authors noted that radiologists have been able to increase their workload by such large amounts while keeping their annual work hours relatively fixed through the use of new technology, “whether that technology is embodied in equipment and software–for example, in PACS and 3D reconstruction–or in organizational arrangements, such as the use of external off-hours teleradiology services.”Kanteron Systems is an experienced Healthcare IT company supplying a broad range of software solutions, from PACS and 3D reconstruction workstations, to teleradiology.