New numbers from the Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI) hint at a dip in optimism among radiology administrators leading into the third quarter of 2016. But organizers of the index caution that the numbers do not have the statistical significance to state definitively that sentiment is declining.
The third-quarter numbers seem to arrest a growing trend line of optimistic sentiment that peaked between the fourth quarter of 2015 and the second quarter of 2016. Prior to that, administrator sentiment had been rising since bottoming out in the first quarter of 2014.
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. Members of the MICI panel answer questions about five important trends faced by radiology administrators in the upcoming quarter to develop a barometer of their sentiment about near-term business prospects. The MICI survey is produced by the AHRA and market research firm the MarkeTech Group.
For the third-quarter results, MICI gathered data from 154 survey participants from across the U.S., with 9% based in the Pacific region, 7% in the Mountain region, 15% in the West North Central region, 20% in the East North Central region, 14% in the Mid-Atlantic region, 15% in the South Atlantic region, 8% 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 2016 and their relationship to the eight previous quarters are shown in the following chart and table.
With respect to scores for individual components of the index, administrators had the most confidence that their internal operating and staff costs will remain constant, with a mean score of 127. Next was their confidence that their facility will maintain/grow as a profit center, with a score of 118.
Farther down was their optimism regarding their facility's ability to grow monthly in diagnostic and interventional imaging, with a score of 111. Other scores are listed in the table below.
|MICI Q3 scores by topic
|Internal operating and staff costs will remain constant
|Will maintain/grow as a profit center
|Will grow monthly in diagnostic and interventional imaging
|Will have access to capital for imaging equipment and IT needs
|Will receive adequate reimbursement from Medicare for diagnostic and interventional imaging
|Composite score across all areas
Administrators were solidly neutral on their outlook for accessing capital for imaging equipment and IT needs, with a score of 100.