Workload of radiologists in the United States in 2002-2003 and trends since 1991-1992

Mythreyi Bhargavan, Jonathan H. Sunshine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To measure the workload of radiologists in the United States in 2002-2003, variations in workload according to practice characteristics, and trends since 1991-1992. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Non-individually identified data from the American College of Radiology (ACR) 2003 Survey of Radiologists were compared with data from previous ACR surveys; all statistics were nationally representative. Workload according to individual practice characteristics, such as size, type, location, and setting, was tested for statistically significant differences from the overall average. Time trends and the independent effect on workload of practice characteristics were measured with regression analysis. Changes in average procedure complexity were calculated in physician work relative value units (RVUs) per Medicare procedure. RESULTS: In 2002-2003, the average workload per full-time equivalent (FTE) radiologist was 13 900 procedures annually (standard error of mean, 200), an increase of 8.1% since 1998-1999 (P < .05) and 25.1% since 1991-1992 (P < .01). Academic practices performed 9900 procedures per FTE radiologist, and private radiology practices performed 15 200 procedures per FTE radiologist. Within most practice categories, radiologists at the 75th percentile of workload typically performed at least 50% more procedures than radiologists at the 25th percentile. Average physician work RVUs per Medicare procedure increased by 6.2% between 1998 and 2002 and by 21.6% between 1992 and 2003, mainly because of an increase in the share of more complex techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography in the procedure mix. CONCLUSION: Workload per radiologist measured in procedures and RVUs increased steadily between 1991-1992 and 2002-2003. Because there is much unexplained variation, averages or medians should not be used as norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)920-931
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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