Radiology at a Crossroads: Five converging trends reshaping the need for diagnostic decision support

Radiology at a Crossroads: Five converging trends reshaping the need for diagnostic decision support

Over the past decade, amid a substantial increase in the demand for diagnostics, the field of radiology has enjoyed an upward trajectory of influence in the healthcare industry. This bolstered status has also prompted greater urgency around evidence-based practice as the downstream impact of radiology decision-making is substantial, touching nearly every area of care delivery.

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As multiple trends converge, the field of radiology is facing a crossroads that demands a call to action. Forward-looking organizations recognize that optimal performance must be driven by standardized care that addresses everything from patient safety and mortality to length of stay and patient experience. This industry brief outlines five trends impacting radiology today and why radiologists need immediate point-of-care access to the most current industry evidence and advanced diagnostic decision support tools.

Demand for outpatient imaging is projected to grow by 7.5% from 2018 to 2023i

Utilization rates for the fastest growing population in the U.S.— those 65+ — is 240 exams/1,000 persons compared to 159/1,000 and 72/1,000 for the 45-54 and 18-44 groupsi

Trend #1: Staffing shortages/increased demand

Healthcare staffing shortages are reality for most specialties, but radiologists rank among the highest for burnout.ii Demand for radiology skills is high —a survey published in the American College of Radiology in 2019 reported a 30% increase in job openings from 2017 to 2018.iii Yet multiple reports point to an aging workforce that is expected to leave a significant gap between demand for and supply of radiologists by 2025.iv As general demand for imaging far outpaces staffing increases, healthcare organizations must consider how to combat the daily fatigue and frustration associated with taxing workloads, which can lend to increased risk of error.

The medical imaging market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 6% from 2017-2025.v

One way to improve the outlook is to ensure radiologists have the most up-to-date evidence at their fingertips to optimize outcomes despite limited resources. Solutions like STATdx from Elsevier provide immediate, accurate and current answers to complex cases and unfamiliar specialties. This not only minimizes the potential for adverse events, but also promotes less waste associated with inappropriate imaging requests.

94% of surveyed professionals found STATdx to be effective in reducing the time it takes to make a accurate diagnosis.Source: 2019 TechValidate survey

Trend #2: Growth in teleradiology and telemedicine

Telemedicine is making waves across healthcare, and radiology is no exception. Growing in tandem with the overall imaging demand, the teleradiology market is expected to reach a whopping $21.8 billion by 2026. That’s up from $4.6 billion in 2017.vi

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Sources

  1. Advisory Board. 2019 Market Trends: Imaging. (2019)
  2. O’Connor, M. “Nearly half of radiologists report feeling burned out, higher than the average physician.” Health Imaging. (January 15, 2020). https://www.healthimaging.com/topics/practicemanagement/half-radiologists-burned-out-medscape
  3. Bender CD, et al. “2018 ACR Commission on Human Resources Workforce Survey.” Journal of the American College of Radiology. (April 2019) https://www.jacr.org/article/S1546-1440(18)31601-6/abstract
  4. Kaplan, D. “Is Radiology Part of the Physician Shortage?” Diagnostic Imaging. (August 11, 2016) https://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/radiology-part-physician-shortage
  5. Modor Intelligence. “United States Diagnostic Imaging Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecasts (2020-2025).” https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/united-states-diagnosticimaging-market
  6. Transparency Market Research. “Teleradiology Services Market.” https://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/teleradiology-services-market.html vii Madden Yee, K. “Geography, lack of specialization hinder imaging.”Aunt Minnie. (January 15, 2018). https://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx