[Comparison between estimates of radiological workload]

C Bibbolino, M Cristofaro, F N Lauria, A Petrecchia, F Vimercati, V David
La Radiologia Medica 2001, 102 (5): 391-6

OBJECTIVE: To comparise three methods for assessing the productivity of radiological services: a) simple count of radiological examinations, b) method proposed by SNR-SAGO-SIRM, c) method used by Regione Emilia Romagna (RER) to evalutate the characteristics of these methods and to find a common method of estimate.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: On the radiological examinations performed at our unit over a period of 12 months were recorded. The different types of examinations were clustered into five homogenous groups (general radiology, ultrasound, barium examinations, CT, MRI). The data were assessed by a) number of examinations/hour per radiologist, b) score/hour according to the SNR-SAGO-SIRM method and c) score/hour according to the RER method, and then compared for the percentage of the single aggregates.

RESULTS: a) The total number of examinations was 26,776 with 40% being accounted for by general radiology; mean numbers of examinations our ranged from 2.43 (August) to 4.20 (March). b) The total score according to the SNR-SAGO-SIRM method was 67,054. The radiologist weight per hour ranged from 6.37 (August) to 9.67 (May). Ultrasound was the most relevant examination in the unit accounting for 43% of total weight. c) The total score according to the RER method was 1,850,780. The radiologist weight per hour ranged from 159 (August) to 316 (April). CT was the most relevant examination (51% of total weight).

CONCLUSION: According to the simple count of examinations, general radiology and ultrasound were the most relevant examinations together accounting for 75% of examinations, i.e. 40% and 35% respectively, whereas by SNR-SAGO-SIRM standards the two techniques represent 19% and 45% respectively. The simple count method therefore fails to give adequate weight to technologically advanced imaging technique. The SNR-SAGO-SIRM method adequately takes into account the combination of patient-number and patient weight. The RER method gives excessive weight costly technology as it considers the total weight of the examination and not only the radiologist's activity.

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