Workload of radiologists in the United States in 1998-1999 and trends since 1995-1996

Mythreyi Bhargavan, Jonathan H. Sunshine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. This article measures the workload of radiologists in the United States in 1998-1999, its variation by practice characteristics, and changes since 1995-1996. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Data on procedures performed were collected from the American College of Radiology's 1999 Survey of Practices, and responses were weighted to make them representative of all radiologists in the United States. Workload measured as number of procedures per full-time equivalent diagnostic radiologist was tabulated by practice type, size, setting, and location and compared with corresponding survey results from 1995-1996. The independent effect of these factors on workload was measured using regression analysis. Changes in procedure complexity were calculated in terms of relative value units (RVUs) per procedure using Medicare files. RESULTS. In 1998-1999, the average workload per full-time equivalent diagnostic radiologist had increased 8.5% since 1995-1996 to 12,800 (standard error = 200) procedures annually, with substantial variation by group type. For example, the average workload was 9400 procedures in academic groups and 13,600 in nonacademic private radiology practices. Even in relatively homogeneous categories of practices, radiologists at the 75th percentile of workload were typically performing at least 50% more procedures than radiologists at the 25th percentile. Average RVUs per Medicare procedure increased by 4% between 1995 and 1998, mainly because of an increase in the share of more complex techniques such as MR imaging and CT in the procedure mix. CONCLUSION. The workload per radiologist measured in procedures and RVUs increased substantially between 1995-1996 and 1998-1999. Because much variation remains unexplained, averages or medians should not be used as norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1123-1128
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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