How to Manage Complex Radiology Scheduling
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Radiology scheduling is highly complex, with teams scheduling providers across numerous specialties and locations. As a result, building the schedule is a task often reserved for physicians or administrators with deep knowledge of how their teams operate. Without leveraging the right tools to build schedules, radiology groups get stuck with a time-consuming, inefficient process.
Why is radiology scheduling so difficult?
Creating shift schedules for radiologists is a major balancing act, with multiple scheduling variables that often compete with one another. Let’s explore just a few of the key issues that make radiology scheduling so complex.
1. Subspecialty coverage for diagnostic imaging exams.
Many diagnostic imaging exams and interventional procedures require specific subspecialty coverage. Radiologists are typically credentialed to work only one particular sub-specialty, with few able to provide cross-coverage. The increasing sub-specialization of radiology, coupled with the growing shortage of radiologists,1 makes this all the more challenging. Ensuring all shift types are covered without overutilizing certain providers is increasingly difficult.
2. Scheduling radiologists and technologists across multiple locations.
Radiologists and radiology technologists typically cover multiple locations, from imaging centers to hospitals, making it difficult to determine who is scheduled, when, and where. Add in the varying shift types at each individual location, and the equation becomes even more challenging.
3. Physician preferences and satisfaction are a top priority.
Radiology is quickly becoming one of the most challenging and expensive specialties for physician recruitment.2 The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates a shortfall of nearly 42,000 radiologists by 2033.1 As a result, it’s incredibly important to create schedules that minimize burnout and keep providers happy.
That means schedulers need to build schedules that factor in individual physician preferences, allow adequate time between long or taxing shifts, and ensure shifts are evenly distributed among providers. However, given the large number of scheduling variables, some radiology groups struggle to make provider satisfaction and well-being a priority when building schedules.
The Solution: An Automated Radiology Scheduler
Despite all the complexities associated with radiology scheduling, there are some radiology groups that still build shift schedules manually—by hand or spreadsheet—instead of using an automated solution.3 Unfortunately, manual scheduling leaves gaps in coverage, contributes to physician burnout, and fails to maximize existing physician resources. In contrast, an optimized radiology scheduling software is extremely efficient and cost-effective.
Interested in learning how optimized scheduling works? Hear from our clients at Eastern Radiologists in Greenville, North Carolina. Learn how their practice transitioned from manually scheduling providers in spreadsheets to auto-generating schedules with our automated scheduling solution.
- Physician Specialty Shortage – Including Radiologists – Continues to Climb, MJH Life Sciences, Whitney J. Palmer, Diagnostic Imaging, 2020: diagnosticimaging.com/view/physician-specialty-shortage-including-radiologists-continues-to-climb
- [White Paper] Physician Recruitment: The Cost to Hire and Return on Investment, Jackson Physician Search, 2018: jacksonphysiciansearch.com/physician-recruitment-the-cost-to-hire-and-return-on-investment/
- In the Flow: Part 2 — Equitable Scheduling Prevents Burnout, Delivers Better Patient Care, Great Valley Publishing, Beth W. Orenstein, Radiology Today—Vol. 19 (No. 3), Page 24, 2018: radiologytoday.net/archive/rt0318p24.shtml