The Typical Radiologist Work-Day

This is the kind of article that should be completely free, but is unfortunately behind a paywall . This article by Dhanoa D et al in the J of the American College of Radiology tracks the typical workday or hospital radiologists in 3 hospitals in British Columbia in Canada and not surprisingly comes up with final conclusion, though they don’t use these words per se, “radiologists are not image-readers – they are physicians who are actively involved in patient management using tools of image interpretation and intervention”.

For those of you who want a copy, email me or leave a comment with your email ID and I will send you the article.

The take-home points are:

  • Local on-site radiologists spend 36.4% of their clinical time on image interpretation.
  • 43.8% of on-site radiologists’ clinical time is spent on noninterpretative activities, such as quality assurance tasks, patient safety responsibilities, and image-guided procedures.
  • The total clinical productivity of on-site radiologists is 87.7%.
  • On-site radiologists experience an average of 6 inter- actions per hour with health care personnel, of which 81.2% directly influence patient care in the medical imaging department.
  • Replacing the on-site radiologist discounts the value of their noninterpretative activities, suggesting a loss to the provision of high-quality patient care. 

Essentially, an on-site radiologist is critical to patient management.

This would even translate to diagnostic centers, where even though there is reduced direct interaction with treating physicans and surgeons, the amount of time spent on the phone or other methods of communication interacting with referring doctors with respect to appointments, scheduling the correct study for the correct clinical situation, monitoring studies, contacting the doctors with provisional and final reports and ensuring proper patient flow, as well as dealing directly with patient queries, etc. takes up a significant amount of time. At best, even in an optimized private practice workflow situation, a radiologist is unlikely to spend more than 50% of his/her time actively looking at images.


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