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ACR projects 16% job growth for radiologists in 2016

August 10, 2016 -- The number of new jobs available for radiologists in 2016 will be 16% higher than those available in 2015, according to the fifth annual workforce survey by the Commission on Human Resources at the American College of Radiology (ACR). The study was published online August 3 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

The growth represents up to 2,223 new job openings for radiologists, wrote lead author Dr. Edward Bluth from the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, along with Swati Bansal from Sage Computing in Reston, VA.

"The 2016 workforce survey continues to show an increase in hiring," they wrote. "Considering that approximately 1,200 radiologists complete training each year, our survey indicates a definite improvement in job opportunities for all radiologists in 2016."

Dr. Edward Bluth from the Ochsner Clinic Foundation.
Why the increase? Almost a fifth of radiologists older than 65 retired last year, according to the authors. But another trend manifested as well: Of all the radiologists who retired in 2015, more than a third were between the ages of 56 and 65. If this trend continues, there could actually be a shortage of radiologists in the future.

"We plan to follow and report these trends carefully," the group wrote.

Workin' for a living

The researchers used the Practice of Radiology Environment Database (PRED) to identify U.S. radiology practices eligible for the study. Of those invited, 579 responded, for a rate of 32%; the responses represent 13,074 radiologists, or 39% of all practicing radiologists in the U.S. (JACR, August 3, 2016).

The survey asked participants to report the number of radiologists currently employed in their practice, the number hired in 2015, and the number they plan to hire in 2016 and 2019. The survey also asked respondents to describe their organization type and to divide their departments between general radiology physicians and those hired to serve mainly as subspecialists. Finally, the survey included questions regarding gender and age distribution.

The researchers found that most radiologists were in private practice (57%), while 23% worked in academic or university environments, 12% in hospitals, and 8% in multispecialty clinics. The bulk of radiologists worked full time (85%); those who worked part time fell along gender lines, with 9% of male radiologists working part time compared with 30% of female radiologists.

The following were the five most common subspecialties in medical imaging:
  • Body imaging: 14.9%
  • General interventional: 13.9%
  • General radiology: 13.3%
  • Neuroradiology: 12.1%
  • Musculoskeletal: 8.7%
As for gender and age characteristics of the radiologist population, 21% of radiologists were women; of those younger than 45, 26% were female. In regards to age, 6% of the radiologist population was older than 65, and 22% was between 56 and 65.

Good news

Bluth and Bansal found that more radiologists were hired in 2015 than predicted: between 1,474 and 1,913, compared with the group's 2015 estimate of 1,131 to 1,484. In 2016, the number of available new jobs will range from 1,713 to 2,223. The most needed subspecialties will be breast imaging, general interventional, neuroradiology, general radiology, body imaging, and musculoskeletal. The authors estimated that 1,279 radiologists will be needed in 2019.

As for geography, most of these new jobs will be in the Midwest (26%) and the South (26%). And most will be in private practice (54%), followed by academic and university practices (29%).

The authors noted limitations to the survey. For example, they can't be sure if the data truly represent the types of practice situations for all radiologists. But in any case, there are jobs out there, they wrote.

This 2016 "workforce survey indicates an improved outlook for radiologists looking for new jobs," they concluded.
____

Also the ACR Jobs Board has been hover just under 500 jobs for a while now. In late 2013 it was around 180-200.
 
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Taurus

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That's what I kept telling people. Buy low, sell high. It was a great time applying to radiology 2-3 years because that was the bottom of the market. Now, news will spread that jobs are coming back and it will get competitive again. IMHO, radiology is the best field if you want to avoid much patient interaction. Gas would be great minus the CRNA's. Path is perennially in the toilet for job market.
 
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Taurus

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Anecdotally, I'm getting multiple recruitment emails daily. Those teleradiology outfits are hurting because as the job market improves people are leaving their crappy low paid overnight employed positions for better paying daytime partnership track jobs. vRad is the biggest teleradiology company and the most aggressive/desperate. One of their people texted me out of the blue a few days ago asking me if I wanted to join them. I hate it when people text me uninvited.
 

redoitall

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I would be cautious with predictions. How many did we get those right. For sure radiology is not going away, and I would say that if anything, it seems to be used more and more (often a sign of poor clinical decision making, but I won't complain...).
I was under the impression that telerad paid really bad. So if they are desperate, why not pay more? It seems that they surfed the wave of the employer's market.
Talking to many radiologist, the feeling is that things are rebounding. Hopefully it will last long enough...
 
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Taurus

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Why doesn't teleradiology pay more? Because when medicine in general becomes corporate and physicians are just employees, you grow a management layer of MBA's and paper pushers who are a drag on profits and suck up valuable cash flow. The private equity partners who invested want their return, etc. The most efficient model is the physician owner/partnership.

I got the rates off an email vRad sent me. These rates are a joke. I didn't spend the last 10 years of my life in training to be paid $5 to read your chest x-ray and be liable for millions if I miss something.

· Base ultrasound and CT are the SAME - $18
· Dual body part CT = $27
· MR = $36
· PET/CT = $72
· Plain film - $5.04
 
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DaTruMD

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Why doesn't teleradiology pay more? Because when medicine in general becomes corporate and physicians are just employees, you grow a management layer of MBA's and paper pushers who are a drag on profits and suck up valuable cash flow. The private equity partners who invested want their return, etc. The most efficient model is the physician owner/partnership.

I got the rates off an email vRad sent me. These rates are a joke. I didn't spend the last 10 years of my life in training to be paid $5 to read your chest x-ray and be liable for millions if I miss something.

· Base ultrasound and CT are the SAME - $18
· Dual body part CT = $27
· MR = $36
· PET/CT = $72
· Plain film - $5.04
Those rates are pathetic.
 

colbgw02

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Pretty standard...Or so say my Chest attendings.
It's true. And even at or near that rate, the teleradiology profit margin is razor thin or nonexistent for radiographs without being able to collect the technical component. Some will even purposefully lose money per radiograph by slightly overpaying the radiologist, because that's the price of doing business in order to hire/keep radiologists so they can make money off of the cross-sectional stuff.
 
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Cognovi

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Pretty standard...Or so say my Chest attendings.
The national Medicare payment amount in 2016 for a 2-view CXR is $28, including $11 professional and $17 technical. If the radiologist gets only $5, that means there's a lot of overhead. Or private insurers are paying even less than Medicare?
 

Cognovi

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Hmm. 1-view plain films of the chest, abdomen, knee, shoulder are $7-9 for professional fee. Maybe $5 is not that off base then.
 

colbgw02

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It's not enough to just look at professional fee and then consider overhead. You also have to consider the payer mix. Practices vary, obviously, but charity care - whether purposeful or not - eats into the bottom line. AP chest view may reimburse $8, but if you're only collecting from 80% of patients, then that's really only $6.40 before you've paid the taken care of overhead.
 

redoitall

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This is super interesting. That said, if you are a good reader, how many X-rays can you read an hour?????? Just curious. I must say I love this thread. So basically we are going to Med school and then doing residency + fellowship, so that all this expertise amounts to 6 bucks per CXR read... Isn't that awesome.
 

badasshairday

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Cool. But sad that we churn through studies that require a sophisticated expertise while getting paid less per case than many people pay for a haircut or manicure/pedicure. Lol.
 
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Cyal

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That's what I kept telling people. Buy low, sell high. It was a great time applying to radiology 2-3 years because that was the bottom of the market. Now, news will spread that jobs are coming back and it will get competitive again. IMHO, radiology is the best field if you want to avoid much patient interaction. Gas would be great minus the CRNA's. Path is perennially in the toilet for job market.
I feel the 2016 application cycle was more competitive than the year prior, with the number of applicants up 15% per rumors.
 

colbgw02

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This is super interesting. That said, if you are a good reader, how many X-rays can you read an hour?????? Just curious. I must say I love this thread. So basically we are going to Med school and then doing residency + fellowship, so that all this expertise amounts to 6 bucks per CXR read... Isn't that awesome.
Good and fast are different concepts. They're not necessarily mutually exclusive, but there is a point at which you're reading so fast that quality suffers. But to answer your question, everyone is different, at least to start. Speed, to an extent, can be learned. So there's no real answer to your question, especially because reading exclusively radiographs is rare.

With respect to radiographs, the issue I see with our reimbursement isn't so much with money. It's with liability. There is a tremendous disproportionality between a study that I spend two minutes on and get $7 for reading, but could cost me my career.
 

colbgw02

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Cool. But sad that we churn through studies that require a sophisticated expertise while getting paid less per case than many people pay for a haircut or manicure/pedicure. Lol.
It's frustrating and, quite frankly useless, to look for logic and sense in what we pay/get paid in a free market - even a heavily modified 'free' market like healthcare is in the U.S.

The truth is we get paid whatever we can, or, more accurately, whatever we fight for and win. Some of the best money we could spend would be to support our specialty's lobbyists. However, in general, we're pretty terrible at doing that, as if we are 'deserving' of something.

That isn't to say that the bottom line should be our number one concern. However, if we leave it to others to handle this, then the MBAs will line their pockets at our expense.
 
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cowme

Don't equate cxr compensation to anything of note in radiology. A fellowship trained radiologist reading chest x Ray is the equivalent of a critical care doctor seeing a routine patient with hypertension. Just diagnose the abnormality, make sure there's no red flags, and move on. Half the time nobody will even look at your report.

A fast (not dangerous) radiologist could comfortably read 150-200 chest x rays a day
 

colbgw02

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A fast (not dangerous) radiologist could comfortably read 150-200 chest x rays a day
That's generously slow. I'm in academics, where speed is not a priority, and those numbers are routinely eclipsed in half a day's worth of work.

My amateur math puts 200 CXR at around $1200/day, calculating liberally, before overhead, nevermind taxes. You can't reconcile that production rate with standard radiology compensation/vacation. Consider that PP rads routinely read 120+/day with a 50/50 radiograph:cross-sectional mix, to put things in perspective.
 
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We still make money out of Xrays.

What you bill is different than what you get paid. For example, a hospital bills medicare 100K for a CABG (bundled payment including everything) but it gets paid about 30K-40K, believe it or not.
 
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cowme

I said comfortably read 150-200. I mean read and dictate, while dealing with interruptions yourself, not telling a resident what to dictate and making all your phone calls

More than this number on your own I'd argue you're starting to push it. 200 chest x rays a day gives you about 1 minute per study after you factor in all the interruptions, a break for lunch and banging your head against the table in the middle of a stack of ICU films.
 

colbgw02

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Your assumptions are incorrect. This is just the faculty (no trainees), the list, an occasional fluoro study, and yes, the phone.

Again, PP radiology will do 120 studies/day/person with a 50/50 radiograph/cross-sectional mix without breaking a sweat. I know "lifestyle" practices where neuro guys are expected to read, on average, 65 MRs alone per day. People like that breeze through 150-200 radiographs.
 
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cowme

Hence why I said comfortably. I am fairly certain that nobody outside of academics reads chest x rays at a comfortable pace
 

JHU Texan

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By you numbers you're reading 300-400 CXR a day, which is incredibly busy even for PP (translates to 60k studies per year assuming 5 days a week and 40 weeks a year...which is crazy). I'm assuming you're at a place like UPMC? At my residency most attendings averaged 12k studies a year.

For most places in the U.S. expect 9-15k studies per rad in academics and 15-25k studies per rad in PP. If you're going by those numbers it translates to 45-75 RVU per rad in PP (assuming 0.67 RVU per study, which is probably accurate assuming plain film/cross sectional mix).

Most people tend to inflate their productivity numbers. I can't tell you the number of times people post call complained about crazy busy it was with 200 studies read...

That's generously slow. I'm in academics, where speed is not a priority, and those numbers are routinely eclipsed in half a day's worth of work.

My amateur math puts 200 CXR at around $1200/day, calculating liberally, before overhead, nevermind taxes. You can't reconcile that production rate with standard radiology compensation/vacation. Consider that PP rads routinely read 120+/day with a 50/50 radiograph:cross-sectional mix, to put things in perspective.
 

badasshairday

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I would estimate experienced chest attendings could read 40-50 CXR per hour. (Assuming they're mostly normal-ish and they are not interrupted)
Maybe if you are reading all outpatient chest xray. That is just a little over a minute to look at a study you know is normal and take a second glance not to miss some nodule or tiny pneumo. Then say "macro normal chest" and skip/add a few incidentals like remote clavicle/rib fractutes and shoulder surgery, CABG. I think a normal mix of plain films 30 to
40 an hour is a very fast rate.
 

colbgw02

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By you numbers you're reading 300-400 CXR a day, which is incredibly busy even for PP (translates to 60k studies per year assuming 5 days a week and 40 weeks a year...which is crazy). I'm assuming you're at a place like UPMC? At my residency most attendings averaged 12k studies a year.

For most places in the U.S. expect 9-15k studies per rad in academics and 15-25k studies per rad in PP. If you're going by those numbers it translates to 45-75 RVU per rad in PP (assuming 0.67 RVU per study, which is probably accurate assuming plain film/cross sectional mix).

Most people tend to inflate their productivity numbers. I can't tell you the number of times people post call complained about crazy busy it was with 200 studies read...
Your numbers look about right. I've known one private practice radiologists in my time who read exclusively radiographs, and his annual total was about where you put it - around 55K. But that wasn't my point. I cited those examples to show how slow - and frankly, unsustainable - it is to read 150-200 radiographs per day, not to provide numbers that ought to be extrapolated over a year.

ETA: Where'd you get 0.67 RVUs/study? Not saying it's wrong, just curious.
 
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JHU Texan

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I did a bit of research on the business of radiology during residency and in practice it's been fairly stable except for the cuts due to MPRR, especially the bundling of abdomen and pelvis CTs together. I remember a paper from 2009 that showed average RVU around 0.68:
http://pubs.rsna.org/doi/full/10.1148/radiol.2522081895

I haven't seen hard numbers lately, but seems about right when talking with different co-residents who are in practice...differences in salary across the country are usually a combination of number of studies read + whether the group owns equipment and can get technical component reimbursement + group payor mix (mainly Medicaid versus private insurance) + reimbursement rate (some groups/hospitals can have significant leverage in negotiation reimbursements depending on the area) + %studies reimbursed. Those factors really determine the salary of rads around the country.

Your numbers look about right. I've known one private practice radiologists in my time who read exclusively radiographs, and his annual total was about where you put it - around 55K. But that wasn't my point. I cited those examples to show how slow - and frankly, unsustainable - it is to read 150-200 radiographs per day, not to provide numbers that ought to be extrapolated over a year.

ETA: Where'd you get 0.67 RVUs/study? Not saying it's wrong, just curious.
 
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cowme

I've worked at 3 major rads departments and moonlighted at a major private practice in residency. Ive seen one attending dictate at a place on par with 40-50 cxrs per hour. Notorious for being reckless and constantly missed obvious findings.

You're delusional if you call that a comfortable pace typical of most rads. I'm sure a lot of rads read at that pace, but unless they have a setup where they don't have to deal with consults or phone calls, never have to call about positive findings, and read NO other studies, I promise you they are being reckless.

400 x rays a day puts you at 1 minute per chest x Ray. One minute to read the study, dictate the study, proofread the report. Hope you have a lightning fast pacs. Anyone reading that kind of volume is dealing with complex cases, not 17 year olds with a cough.

Sorry, but these numbers are BS, or you are doing your patients a disservice
 
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cowme

we're just referring to different things. I said 200 is a reasonable, comfortable day in and out pace. Maybe I short changed it and it could be even a bit higher. But not 400. I never claimed people can't read that volume just that it probably comes with some short cuts for most rads and a daily contemplation of suicide. I'm aware that private practice pushes to incredible limits but that doesn't mean there's no sacrifice reading at that volume.
 
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colbgw02

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There's definitely a sacrifice, and I hope I haven't come across as suggesting otherwise. It follows logically that the quality of one's interpretation is better at a rate of 1/day than it is at 100/day. Unfortunately, there is no scientific way of determining what amount of time should be spent on any given study. Accordingly, we are left to radiologic empiricism, which tells us (or me, at least) that 120 studies per day with a 50/50 cross-sectional mix is commonplace. That volume, if our 0.67 RVU/study number is correct, corresponds to about 400 CXRs/day (inasmuch as RVUs are an accurate indicator of workload, which is a whole other thread). Now, we could proceed under the assumption that radiologists are, on the whole, not comfortable with that pace, but that's a bridge too far for me to assert. There is precious little data available about miss rates as it correlates to volume, and, in the absence of data, I am not willing to project my own values about speed/quality onto others.

To clarify and as an aside, I have had days where I've read 400 radiographs. More frequently, I have half-days where I read at a pace of 300-400 radiographs/day. I admit that it's a grind, and, if given the choice, I would much rather have a day consisting of 120 studies with a mix of modalities. Reading a veritable wall of radiographs is taxing, and I tend to think that reading purely radiographs is disproportionately burdensome as compared to reading an RVU-matched mix of studies. I think that phenomenom explains, in part, why extrapolating these numbers over a year, or even a day, seems so unreasonable. Again, the numbers I cite aren't intended to be extrapolated, but rather to put into perspective just how little 150-200 XRs is.
 
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There is not point in talking about your salary. You lose much more than you gain.

Never talk about your salary and politics openly in public.
 

badasshairday

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Can people delete posts with numbers. I don't want to to be working for pennies.
 
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vm26

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[QUOTE="
· Base ultrasound and CT are the SAME - $18
· Dual body part CT = $27
· MR = $36
· PET/CT = $72
· Plain film - $5.04[/QUOTE]

Wow, thats about 50% of normal reimbursement
 

Hemorrage

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Can someone be willing to PM radiology salary data? I can't access the MGMA data without paying a fortune.