By Brian Casey, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

October 11, 2019 -- Radiology administrators and business managers continue to have a positive outlook on their business prospects for the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the latest numbers from the Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI).

The composite index score for the fourth quarter of 2019 was 116, which MICI classifies as having "high confidence" in future business prospects. The score has been rising in previous MICI reports throughout 2019.

The MICI is derived from survey responses of imaging directors and hospital managers who are members of the AHRA, the association for medical imaging management. Market research firm the MarkeTech Group queries members of the MICI panel about five important trends faced by radiology administrators and business managers in the upcoming quarter to provide a barometer of their sentiment about near-term business prospects.

For the 2019 fourth-quarter data, the index included 154 participants from across the U.S., with 15% based in the Mid-Atlantic region, 17% in the South Atlantic region, 6% in the East South Central region, 21% in the East North Central region, 19% in the West North Central region, 8% in the West South Central region, 6% in the Mountain region, and 8% in the Pacific region.

Participants were asked to rate their optimism about five topics, and a single composite score including all five categories was also calculated. Scores ranged from 0 to 200 and can be interpreted as follows:

  • < 50 = extremely low confidence
  • 50 to 69 = very low confidence
  • 70 to 89 = low confidence
  • 90 to 110 = an ambivalent score (neutral)
  • 111 to 130 = high confidence
  • 131 to 150 = very high confidence
  • > 150 = extremely high confidence

Radiology administrators were most optimistic they would maintain/grow as a profit center, with a score of 141, followed by their confidence that internal operating and staff costs would remain constant, with a score of 138. They were also confident they would grow monthly in diagnostic and interventional radiology, with a score of 124.

As in previous MICI surveys, at the bottom was their confidence that they would receive adequate reimbursement from Medicare, with a score of just 85.

MICI scores by topic for Q4 2019
Topic Mean score Interpretation
Will maintain/grow as a profit center 141 Very high confidence
Internal operating and staff costs will remain constant 138 Very high confidence
Will grow monthly in diagnostic and interventional radiology 124 High confidence
Will have access to capital for imaging equipment and IT needs 100 Neutral
Will receive adequate reimbursement from Medicare for diagnostic and interventional imaging 85 Low confidence

MICI scores for the fourth quarter of 2019 and their relationship to the previous eight quarters are shown in the following chart.

In the free-response section of the survey, many respondents predicted an increase in patient volume due to the winter months -- but many also reported no corresponding increase in staff or reimbursement.

"We will continue to perform more procedures but reimbursement is not adequate," one respondent wrote.


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