MICI Q4: Political concerns don't roil admins' outlook

2017 11 13 23 37 4630 New Chart 2017 Q4 400

Radiology administrators appear to have put aside previously stated concerns about political turmoil in Washington, DC. Administrator sentiment remained stable for the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the latest figures from the Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI).

Looking ahead to the last quarter of the calendar year, radiology administrators who responded to the MICI survey expressed largely the same sentiment as those in the past several quarters, capping a remarkable period of stability for the index. The numbers are especially surprising given the concerns that many administrators expressed earlier this year regarding the potential impact of political turmoil on their operations.

The Medical Imaging Confidence Index 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 in the upcoming quarter to provide a barometer of their sentiment about near-term business prospects.

For the 2017 fourth-quarter data, the index included 151 participants from across the U.S., with 14% based in the Mid-Atlantic region, 14% in the South Atlantic region, 7% in the East South Central region, 23% in the East North Central region, 15% in the West North Central region, 11% in the West South Central region, 5% in the Mountain region, and 11% 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 that their internal operating and staff costs would remain constant, with a mean score of 131. They were also confident that their facility will maintain/grow as a profit center, with a score of 124, followed by confidence in their facility's ability to grow monthly in diagnostic and interventional imaging, with a score of 116.

MICI scores by topic for Q4 2017
Topic Mean score Interpretation
Internal operating and staff costs will remain constant 131 Very high confidence
Will maintain/grow as a profit center 124 High confidence
Will grow monthly in diagnostic and interventional radiology 116 High confidence
Composite score across all areas 110 Neutral
Will have access to capital for imaging equipment and IT needs 100 Neutral
Will receive adequate reimbursement from Medicare for diagnostic and interventional imaging 81 Low confidence

MICI scores for the fourth quarter of 2017 and their relationship to the previous eight quarters are shown in the following chart.

Results of MICI Q4 and prior quarters

As in past surveys, radiology administrators expressed the lowest level of confidence in getting adequate reimbursement from Medicare, with a score of 81. Administrators were more optimistic in their outlook for accessing capital for imaging equipment and IT needs, with a score of 100, which is classified as "neutral." The MICI composite score across all five topics was 110, also representing a neutral outlook.

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