A new study showed that nearly 20% of radiologists separated from a practice in a single year, indicating that radiology is impacted by broader workforce trends toward job hopping. Researchers found that over the four-year study, annual practice separation rates increased 38%, with 41% of all radiologists leaving at least one job during the study period.
Despite the presumed prevalence and implications for practice management, relatively little was known about actual frequency of or factors most associated with job hopping or job separation in radiology specifically. This new Journal of American College of Radiology (JACR) study tracked recent trends and characteristics of radiologist-practice separation across the United States.
“Our study results show that the United States radiologist workforce has become highly and increasingly mobile,” says first author Stefan Santavicca, MS. “Practice separation was most common among early-career and late-career radiologists, general radiologists, and those working in smaller, multispecialty, and non-academic practices.”
Santavicca and his team used the Medicare Physician Compare database and linked all radiologists to associated group practices annually between 2014 and 2018 and assessed radiologist-practice separation over a variety of physician and group characteristics.
Of 25,228 unique radiologists associated with 4,381 unique group practices, radiologist-practice separation rates from 2014-2018 were 47% for multi-specialty groups vs. 38% for radiology-only practices and 46% for non-academic vs. 32% for academic practices.
Separation rates were 44% in the northeast vs. 39% in the south and 43% for general radiologists vs. 38% for subspecialty radiologists. Among subspecialists, separation rates ranged from 43% for breast imagers to 34% for cardiothoracic imagers. By state, radiologist-practice separation rates ranged from 57% in Utah to 26% in Virginia.
“Since reasons for separation, such as resignation or practice acquisition, cannot be assessed using administrative data, further attention is warranted given the manifold financial, operational, and patient care implications,” says lead study author, Danny Hughes, PhD. “A better understanding of this data could help practice leaders anticipate turnover and consider strategies for retention and recruitment to reduce the impact.”