There appears to be a solid floor undergirding the recent strain of optimism among radiology administrators, according to third-quarter numbers from the Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI). Administrator sentiment remains positive across multiple MICI segments.
The current trend is a welcome change from mid-2014, when the leading indicator of radiology administrator sentiment bottomed out. Since then, the trend has been solidly onward and upward, and the MICI composite score -- a basket of five different categories -- is even flirting with 110.
MICI is a forward-looking index designed to provide an early view of trends as they develop. It is derived from the responses of imaging directors and hospital managers who are members of the AHRA medical imaging management association. Members of the MICI panel are asked about five key trends typically encountered by radiology administrators and what they expect in these areas in the upcoming quarter. The MICI survey is produced by AHRA and market research firm the MarkeTech Group.
For the third-quarter data, MICI gathered 165 survey participants from across the U.S., with 11% based in the Pacific region, 8% in the Mountain region, 9% in the West North Central region, 22% in the East North Central region, 16% in the Mid-Atlantic region, 14% in the South Atlantic region, 7% in the East South Central region, and 13% in the West South Central region.
Participants were asked to rate their optimism about the five topics, and a single composite score including all five categories was also tabulated. 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
MICI scores for the third quarter of 2015 and their relationship to the eight previous quarters are shown in the chart below.
As in past surveys, radiology administrators had the highest level of confidence that their internal operating and staff costs would remain constant, and they were also optimistic that their facility would continue to grow as a profit center. They were most pessimistic that they would receive adequate Medicare reimbursement for diagnostic and interventional radiology procedures.
Specific MICI numbers for the current survey are listed in the following table.
|MICI Q3 scores by topic|
|Will grow monthly in diagnostic and interventional radiology||116||High confidence|
|Will receive adequate reimbursement from Medicare for diagnostic and interventional imaging||75||Low confidence|
|Internal operating and staff costs will remain constant||135||Very high confidence|
|Will have access to capital for imaging equipment and IT needs||98||Neutral|
|Will maintain/grow as a profit center||125||High confidence|
|Composite score across all areas||109||Neutral|