MICI Q4: Radiology administrators positive about imaging growth

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Radiology administrators are confident that diagnostic and interventional radiology will continue to grow as a profit center through the remainder of this year and beyond, according to the MarkeTech Group's Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI) report for the fourth quarter of 2023.

They're also confident that diagnostic and interventional radiology volumes will grow monthly. However, they're less sure that internal operating expenses and staff costs will remain constant and that their departments will receive adequate Medicare reimbursement for exams -- results comparable to the MarkeTech Group's first-semester and Q3 results.

The MarkeTech Group generates the MICI report from survey responses by radiology administrators and business managers who are members of its imagePRO panel. The document is made up of responses to questions about five trends radiology administrators face in the coming year.

This fourth-quarter report included feedback from 130 imaging directors and managers across the following U.S. geographic areas: 16% in the West North Central region; 8% in the East North Central region; 15% in the Mid-Atlantic region; 15% in the South Atlantic region; 13% in the East South Central region; 15% in the West South Central region; 11% in the Pacific region; and 7% in the Mountain region.

In terms of hospital/facility size, 42% of survey respondents reported 100 beds or less, 40% reported 100 to 349 beds, and 18% reported 350 beds or more.

Respondents ranked their confidence on five topics, and the MarkeTech Group calculated a single composite score. Scores ranged from 0 to 200 and can be interpreted in this way:

  • < 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 Q4 confidence scores by topic
Topic Mean score Q3 2023 (July to September) Interpretation Mean score Q4 2023 (October to December) Interpretation
Will maintain/grow as a profit center 139 Very high confidence 142 Very high confidence
Will grow monthly in diagnostic and interventional radiology 139 Very high confidence 135 Very high confidence
Will have access to capital for imaging equipment and IT needs 92 Neutral 100 Neutral
Internal operating and staff costs will remain constant 85 Low confidence 96 Neutral
Will have adequate reimbursement from Medicare for diagnostic and interventional imaging 80 Low confidence 90 Neutral
Composite score across all areas 106 Neutral 112 High confidence

All regions except West South Central reported high confidence in growth in diagnostic/interventional radiology, the group found. The responses also showed that all regions except the mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, East South Central, and Mountain have low or very low confidence in receiving adequate Medicare reimbursement.

2023 11 22 Graph For Mici Q4

The survey included a free-response section under which participants commented on the five topics. Considering study volume increases, respondents said that [it's] "the busiest year yet for imaging and interventional radiology, and that there's "no limit to the growth thus far"; another respondent said that "as patients get older, more imaging studies are being required … thus causing an upswing in the number of exams being performed."

Respondents expressed concern about Medicare reimbursement, writing that "with inflation, possible recession, and patients not having adequate insurance, [it will be hard to determine financial success]," and that "Medicare and insurance reimbursements are not covering costs."

Finally, regarding operating and staff costs, survey participants noted that "volume growth will be dependent on staffing. Without adequate staffing, outpatient appointments will be reduced," and "staffing costs force reassessment of long-term goals."

The Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI) is produced by market research firm the MarkeTech Group using data from its imagePRO panel of radiology administrators and business managers.

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