Rationale and Objectives. The workload in radiology departments is increasing rapidly. This study was designed to determine whether and to what extent the workload is being generated outside of traditional working hours (defined as 0800-1700 Monday thru Friday, excluding holidays). Materials and Methods. Exam statistics were derived from the radiology department's automated examination scheduling and reporting system for four successive fiscal years. The distribution of the number of studies completed throughout the 24-hour day and the 7-day week was charted. Results. A large proportion of studies are being completed outside of traditional working hours. Moreover, as the overall workload of the department increased, the proportion of studies being completed during nontraditional working hours was increasing at an even faster pace, particularly in the cross-sectional imaging modalities. Computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound have increased by 59%, 51%, and 30%, respectively, over 4 years. The on-call proportions have increased from 34% to 40% and 13% to 18% for computed tomography and ultrasound, respectively, over 4 years and from 44% to 50% for magnetic resonance imaging over 3 years. Conclusion. These trends have implications for radiologist and radiology technologist staffing. The department has already modified the scheduling of technologist staffing to provide in-house extended-hours coverage in most modalities. As the number of studies conducted outside of traditional working hours continues to expand and the demand for contemporaneous readings increases, radiologist staffing may need to be adjusted as well. Traditional on-call coverage may be insufficient to competently handle the growing workload. This may have particular implications for radiology residency programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging