In today’s healthcare environment, imaging is central to preventative care, diagnosis and treatment. New imaging technologies can enable life-changing possibilities — but not without the necessary manpower behind them.
Not so long ago, demand for radiologists was low. This was due to a large pool of residents in the specialty, suppressed imaging with the recession and growing use of teleradiology, which allows for the distribution of imaging studies nationally and even internationally. However, things have changed drastically in the last few years and even with teleradiology, demand for radiologists is back up.
Increasing Demand, Decreasing Programs
According to a study conducted at the American College of Radiology, MRI, CT and interventional radiology services have increased an average of 7.3% each year over the past 12 years. This tracks with technology improvements, a stronger economy and an aging population of Baby Boomers, a group more focused on preventive medicine than the generation before.
At the same time, many radiologists are aging, too. Some studies say that close to 50% of the radiology workforce are 55 and older, nearing retirement and contributing to attrition. Despite the increase in service demand and the inevitable reduction in current radiologists, the number of new radiologists is only increasing by 2% each year. A close look at residency programs shows that the number of radiology programs has actually decreased since 1996. This is bad for patient care and bad for healthcare facilities’ bottom line.
The High Costs of Vacancies
Radiology services are a huge financial contributor to hospitals. The average radiologist bills $1.46 million in revenue a year, and an interventional radiologist bills $1.58 million. Even temporary vacancies can mean tremendous financial loss — and average vacancies are not short-term.
Reports estimate that it takes almost a full year, on average, to fill a staff vacancy. During that time, workloads increase for existing staff, morale can suffer and a facility’s ability to provide adequate patient care suffers.
An Opportunity to Help (with Locum Tenens)
You can be part of the solution as a locum tenens radiologist. Locum tenens work comes with flexibility, competitive pay and other unique lifestyle benefits — and providing coverage to a tapped facility can provide significant lifestyle benefits to existing staff, too.
Radiologists and the imaging services they provide are needed everywhere, from busy urban hospitals to the facilities serving smaller rural areas. Check out our job board to view locum tenens radiologist openings across the country, or contact us to get started.