A solid footing is undergirding the optimism of radiology administrators regarding their business prospects in the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest figures from the Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI).
The index for the current period generally continued a recovery that began eight quarters ago, when MICI (a basket of five leading economic indicators that represent radiology administrator sentiment) hit rock bottom in the first quarter of 2014. Since then, the composite index has witnessed steadily rising scores.
MICI is a forward-looking index designed to provide an early view of trends as they develop. It is based on 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 first-quarter 2016 data, MICI surveyed 169 participants from across the U.S., with 9% based in the Pacific region, 7% in the Mountain region, 14% in the West North Central region, 21% in the East North Central region, 15% in the Mid-Atlantic region, 15% in the South Atlantic region, 7% in the East South Central region, and 12% 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 also was 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 first quarter of 2016 and their relationship to the eight previous quarters are shown in the following chart and table.
Although the index and several component measures appeared to dip slightly in the first quarter of 2016, the changes were not statistically significant, according to the MarkeTech Group analysts.
|MICI scores by topic for Q1 2016
|Internal operating and staff costs will remain constant
|Very high confidence
|Will maintain/grow as a profit center
|Will grow monthly in diagnostic and interventional radiology
|Composite score across all areas
|Will have access to capital for imaging equipment and IT needs
|Will receive adequate reimbursement from Medicare for diagnostic and interventional imaging
At the top of the scale, administrators reported that they had the most confidence that their internal operating and staff costs would remain the same, with a score of 132, a trend seen in previous MICI surveys. They were also confident that their departments would remain and/or grow as profit centers, with a score of 124.
At the other end of the scale was confidence in adequate Medicare reimbursement for diagnostic and interventional radiology procedures, with a low confidence score of 71. This countered a trend toward growing (albeit still low) confidence in this MICI metric, although the change from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016 was not statistically significant.
As in past surveys, radiologists remained neutral on their confidence in having access to capital for imaging equipment and IT needs, with a score of 102.