E5527. Increasing Volume and Complexity of Medical Imaging
  1. Christopher Troupis; The Royal Melbourne Hospital
  2. Kenneth Lau; Monash Health
  3. John Troupis; Monash Health
This study aims to measure radiologist workload by comparing the increase in radiological scans with image numbers, and to compare this with the number of radiologists in a tertiary health care network, with a view to improving data collection, which may be useful for resource allocation as complexity of medical imaging continues to increase.

Materials and Methods:
Using the Radiology Information System (RIS) and PACS, a list was generated of all scans done at a tertiary health network in Melbourne, Australia, between January 2009 and December 2022; data were obtained regarding scan type and number of images. The number of full-time equivalent radiologists was measured using hospital payroll data.

Over the study period, there were 4,481,631 diagnostic studies, comprising 1,145,228,522 images. From January 2009 to December 2022, the number of monthly diagnostic studies increased by 108%; however, this was outpaced by the increase in images per month, which grew by 1191%. The most significant growth was in the modality of CT, while the number of studies per month grew by 211% (4,877) over the study period, the number of monthly CT slices grew by 1646% (10,477,193). There was no significant increase in the number of scans per full-time equivalent (FTE) radiologist per month (demonstrating a decrease of 13%). There was a 441% increase in the number of images per FTE radiologist per month (48,781 to 263,964). By modality, CT demonstrated the greatest increase, with 632% growth in the number of monthly images per FTE radiologist (from 27,698 to 202,678). Therefore, CT also provided the greatest contribution to the total number of monthly images viewed by each radiologist.

The number of images per month per radiologist increased by 441% from January 2009 to December 2022, despite no growth in the number of studies per radiologist per month. Our data demonstrates that solely using the number of studies will likely underestimate a radiologist’s diagnostic workload, as this is not necessarily reflective of the number of images, which is a greater increase and may better capture the expanding complexity of medical imaging. Furthermore, our data confirms that a greater sophistication toward analysis of increasing workload is most urgent, due to the increasing clinical utility of multienergy CT imaging.