The Changing Radiologist Role

Topics: Imaging, Service Lines, Strategic Alignment, Workforce, Hospital-Physician Alignment, Physician Issues, Practice Management, Health Policy, Market Trends, Strategy

This is a preview of restricted content.

Full access to this content is reserved for Imaging Performance Partnership members. Log in now or learn more about Imaging Performance Partnership.

By reading this study, members will learn:

  • Current performance standards for radiologist service metrics
  • How radiologists can demonstrate value and maintain hospital partnerships
  • How hospitals can leverage radiologists in operational and growth priorities
  • Ways radiology groups can engage radiologists and garner buy-in to provide added value beyond strictly reading and reporting

Executive Summary

Three areas for improvement

We see three main opportunities for improving health system and radiology group alignment:

  • Make certain that radiologists are meeting current national performance standards
  • Increase radiologists’ involvement outside the reading room, integrating them prominently into health system strategic objectives
  • Ensure that radiology practices have established progressive internal business practices that promote long-term engagement

The need to foster comprehensive clinical collaboration

Radiology group leaders looking to maintain strong relationships with—and demonstrate value to—health system partners must collaborate effectively with ordering physicians. However, to succeed, radiologists must be accessible, familiar with frequent referrers, engaged in educating ordering physicians and technologists about imaging appropriateness, and careful to coordinate with other specialists.

Progressive radiology practices are undertaking a range of efforts to achieve such clinical collaboration, surveying individual specialists to ensure performance meets expected standards, and establishing mentorships designed to hardwire an even deeper relationship between radiologists and referring physicians.

Others are creating around-the-clock operations centers to field requests and handle administrative issues while allowing radiologists to focus on patient care.

Radiologists uniquely poised to drive growth

Outpatient volume growth increasingly hinges on radiologists’ unique contributions, particularly their ability to build relationships with new referring physicians, ensure loyalty among current referring physicians, and identify new advanced procedures that can serve as additional sources of volume growth.

We’ve found several organizations where department leaders are involving radiologists at each stage to build sustained, principled volume growth. For example, one hospital requires radiologists to call first-time referring physicians to deliver results. This practice assures new referrers that radiologists are accessible enough to provide consultation and support for future requests.

Understanding the Changing Radiologist Landscape