JOURNAL ARTICLE

The academic radiologist's clinical productivity: an update

Ying Lu, Ronald L Arenson
Academic Radiology 2005, 12 (9): 1211-23
16112517

RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this project was to further understand the academic radiologist's clinical workload with comparison to the prior studies in the past decade. This updated data is very important in determining faculty staffing requirements.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A survey performed by the Society of Chairmen of Academic Radiology Departments (SCARD) collected data in 2003 for radiologists in 23 departments. This data included Current Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes by radiologist. The CPT codes were converted into relative value units (RVUs) per full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty. By grouping the CPT codes into similar examination categories, adjustment factors were created for the RVU values for each CPT in order to compensate for workload variations. These adjustment factors are identical to the adjustments made in 2001 except for a new factor for nuclear medicine.

RESULTS: Overall, the average clinical workload in 2003 was 5,872 RVU/FTE, a 32% increase compared to 4,458 RVU/FTE in 1998 and 55% increase compared to 3,790 RVU/FTE in 1996. The average number of examinations per FTE had a smaller (17%) increase since 1998. The adjustment factors remain very similar to those presented in 2001. The only change was a new adjustment factor of 1.3 for nuclear medicine.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinical workload as measured by RVU/FTE and adjusted RVU/FTE are very useful for determining optimal staffing in subspecialty sections and in the department as a whole. The workload continues to increase, but more in examination complexity than in numbers of procedures overall.

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