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Radiologist Workforce Becoming Increasingly Subspecialized

Increased subspecialization seen across cohorts defined by gender, years in practice, practice size

FRIDAY, Feb. 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The national radiologist workforce is becoming increasingly subspecialized, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Andrew B. Rosenkrantz, M.D., from NYU Langone Health in New York City, and colleagues identified practicing radiologists and examined recent trends in the generalist versus subspecialist composition of the national workforce.

The researchers observed an increase in the percentage of radiologists practicing as subspecialists, from 37.1 percent in 2012 and 2013 to 38.8 percent in 2014, 41 percent in 2015, 43.9 percent in 2016, and 44.6 percent in 2017. Workforce changes per subspecialty from 2012 to 2017 were +3.7 percent for breast; +2.4 percent for abdominal; +1.8 percent for neuroradiology; +0.8 percent for musculoskeletal; +0.2 percent for cardiothoracic; −0.2 percent for nuclear; and −1.2 percent for interventional. Across cohorts defined by gender, years in practice, practice size, and academic status, increased subspecialization was observed consistently. The degree of increasing subspecialization was greatest for female (+12.1 percent) and earlier-career radiologists (+10.2 percent for those in practice <10 years) and those in larger groups (+7.2 percent for ≥100 members).

“While radiology’s growing subspecialization is a positive change in the advancement of more sophisticated care, the potential impact on patient access from a diminishing supply of general radiologists, particularly in rural communities, is not yet known,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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