General radiologists serve an essential role in the national radiologist workforce by offering broad radiological skills that help their practices meet a variety of geographic and after-hour coverage needs. Importantly, generalists have a particular role in ensuring patient access to radiological services for small and rural radiology groups. While subspecialty radiologists practice patterns have been well studied, relatively little is known about practice patterns of general radiologists. This new study, published in Academic Radiology, characterizes the practice patterns of general radiologists, who represent the majority of practicing radiologists in the US.
The researchers assessed individual U.S. radiologists’ work efforts using the 2017 Medicare Provider and Other Supplier Public Use File and a previously validated work relative value unit weighted claims-based classification system. Using prior criteria, radiologists without >50% work efforts in a single subspecialty were deemed generalists. For this study, a >25% subspecialty work effort threshold was deemed a subspecialty “focus area,” and generalists with ≥2 subspecialty focus areas were deemed “multispecialists.”
“The large majority of U.S. general radiologists practice as multispecialists, and nearly all have at least one subspecialty focus area,” said Andrew Rosenkrantz, MD, MPA, (pictured above) lead study author, professor and director of health policy in the department of radiology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and a Neiman Institute senior affiliate research fellow. “The predominance of general radiologists’ multispecialty focus across various practice types and locations supports their role in facilitating patient access to a range of radiologist subspecialties.”
Among 12,438 radiologists meeting existing claims-based criteria to be deemed generalists, 85% had ≥2 subspecialty focus areas of >25% work effort (i.e., multispecialists), 14.6% had one focus area, and 0.4% had no focus area. The fraction of generalists meeting multispecialist criteria was similar across radiologists’ years in practice (range 84.7% to 85.4%), academic vs. non-academic status (85% to 87%), and practice size (83% to 87%). Although general radiologist multispecialization varied geographically, a majority in all states were multispecialists (range 58% in VT to 94% in WY) and percentages were not associated with state-level population density.
“A more complete understanding of practice patterns both general and subspecialty radiologists could help inform important ongoing conversations within radiology about training, staffing, and workforce planning—all aimed at ensuring robust access to high quality imaging services,” stated Richard Duszak, Jr., MD, FACR, professor and vice chair for health policy and practice in the department of radiology and imaging sciences at Emory University and affiliate senior research fellow at the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute.Back To Top
New Study Characterizes Practice Patterns of General Radiologists. Appl Radiol.