January 27, 2010

Measuring Radiologist Productivity

What is Productivity?
  • "Hourly worker output"
  • Productivity in physician practice reflects efficiency with which work is performed
  • Productivity gain closely correlates with health of overall economy, rising living standards and growth of real wages
Why Measuring Productivity?
  • Practice of radiologists has changed from traditional, small (less than 10 members) group to larger groups with subspecialization.
  • Increase employment of part-time radiologists
  • These factors result in difference in case mix, on-call demands and increased difficulty of informal monitoring of each radiologist's work
  • Several methods exist including using revenue, hours worked, volume of examination and Relative Value Units (RVUs)
  • Because RVUs combine many facets of other methods (volumes, hours) and easily/timely availability, it is most widely used as an indicator of radiologist productivity
  • RVUs are work component of professional Resource-Based Relative Value Scale per time period. Each Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code is assigned an RVU for physician work (wRVU) as well as RVU for practice and malpractice expenses.
  • wRVUs are intended to reflect time and effort expended by radiologists to perform services
Reference Authors' Recommendations
  • Quoted from the below reference, authors are from Mass. General Hospital in Boston and Sloan School of Management at MIT
  • RVUs seem to be the most reasonable means to evaluate radiologist productivity, however practices may elect to monitor more than one productivity measures because no single measure is perfect
  • Authors recommend measuring "team-based" RVUs rather than individual's. This is to value members who perform duties with lower RVU assignment or no RVUs (i.e., consultation, conference participation, administration, teaching)
  • Productivity measures reporting should be coupled with quality metrics

Ding A, Saini S, Berndt ER. Radiologist productivity: what, why, and how. JACR 2009;6:824-827.

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