Healthcare in the United States is undergoing significant challenges, with a growing concern about the availability of physicians, particularly in specialized fields such as radiology. The shortage of radiologists has reached a critical level, exacerbated by the growing disparity between graduation and retirement rates. As a result, the staffing shortfall is a pressing concern that is sparking nationwide discussion.

Projections indicate that the United States could see a shortage of up to 86,000 primary and specialty care physicians by 2034. In the projected shortage of physicians, radiology falls into the “other specialties” category, which estimates a combined specialty shortage of 19,500 physicians.

To view the full report, download the white paper below.

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The Radiology Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 4% job growth in radiology until 2032, resulting in 1,100 radiology job openings projected each year on average until 2032.  Furthermore, the American College of Radiology's job board currently lists over 1,800 open radiologist jobs, highlighting a persistent gap between imaging demand and the availability of radiologists.

Radiology Job Outlook - Concentrations of radiologists-1

Contributing Factors

There are a number of factors impacting the shortage of radiologists, a few of the leading factors being:

Limited Residency Positions: Radiology is one of the more competitive residencies. Within interventional radiology residency, 1 in 6 PGY-1 applicants match. Diagnostic radiology is even more challenging, with only 1 in 8 PGY-1 applicants matching.

Radiologist match rates - Limited Residency Positions

Despite the strong interest in radiology, the demand for radiologists is expected to outpace the supply without an increase in available residency positions. 

Increased Radiology Subspecialization: The vast majority of radiologists reaching retirement age are generalists who possess the expertise to perform a wide range of radiology diagnostics. As radiology generalists leave the workforce, it can affect the availability of radiologists in hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide. On average, radiologists read across nearly five different subspecialties in daily practice; however, today, some aren’t always comfortable doing so.

Addressing the Rising Demand

Radiologist supply and demand graph

Teleradiology: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant shift toward teleradiology. Teleradiology helped improve access to care in underserved areas and aided in enabling timely diagnosis and treatment. As a result, healthcare facilities facing radiology staffing shortages were able to secure quality radiology coverage regardless of geographic constraints. However, one of the pressing challenges arising from the adoption of teleradiology is the task of enticing radiologists to return to on-site practice.

Radiology Locum Tenens: By implementing radiology locums into staffing strategies, hospitals, diagnostic centers, physician offices, and other healthcare facilities can ensure consistent access to radiology care.

The Medicus Transition Program: The Medicus Transition Program is a strategically designed project-based staffing solution that helps hospitals, groups, and health systems achieve clinical workforce stabilization. Whether a facility is contending with unexpected provider turnover, increased patient demand, or is looking to bring a service line employed. Medicus locum tenens step in to bridge the gaps in coverage, bringing stability and reliability.

To learn more about the strategies aimed at addressing this issue and to explore the projected radiology shortage further, we invite you to view our complete white paper by filling out the form above.