OBJECTIVE. The purpose of our study was to model the supply and demand for diagnostic radiologists over the next 30 years under alternative scenarios. MATERIALS AND METHODS. We used responses from the American College of Radiology's 2000 Survey of Diagnostic Radiologists and Radiation Oncologists to determine the current age distribution and activity of diagnostic radiologists. The numbers entering the profession were projected using three assumptions: no change in training programs, reduction of residency to 3 years (or otherwise increasing the annual number of graduates by one third), and elimination of most fellowship programs. Demand projections assume a 5% shortage in 2001 and depend on growth rates of the population, aging, scenarios of growth of age-standardized demand, and the effect of possibly productivity-enhancing technologies such as PACS (picture archiving and communication systems). RESULTS. Only a one-third increase in annual graduates materially increases the work-force relative to current training patterns. In all cases, the growth rate of the demand for radiologists far outstrips the supply over a 30-year horizon. In the shorter term, projections of current trends point to an increasing shortage, but rapid major productivity increases could produce a surplus. CONCLUSION. Those in the field of diagnostic radiology should consider measures to mitigate the increasing shortage, while monitoring developments that might signal departures from current trends in supply and demand.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging