The 20 Largest Academic Radiology Practices

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Radiology Business Journal brings you this inaugural list of the largest academic radiology practices with our usual caveat: We know that this list is not complete. We publicized the survey through our e-journal, and participation was completely voluntary. We extend our sincere gratitude to the representatives of those institutions that took the time to complete the survey.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston claimed the top spot in our first annual ranking of the 20 Largest Academic Radiology Practices. Cosponsored by LarsonAllen (Minneapolis, Minnesota) and Radiology Business Journal, the survey ranked the participating practices by the number of FTE radiologists plus the number of FTE PhDs to reflect the academic mission more fully. Because the revenue numbers shared were confidential, they were not factored into the ranking. Due to the varied missions of the participating institutions, revenue did not necessarily correspond to our size ranking.

MGH weighed in with 88 radiologists and 89 FTE PhDs, for a department total of 177. With 774 FTE employees in support, the practice interpreted approximately 670,000 procedures for one client hospital last year, as well as performing an additional 110,662 final teleradiology interpretations for five clients.

The University of California–San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging ranked second in size, with 74 FTE radiologists and 70 FTE PhDs. The practice employs 225 FTEs, and it performed 550,000 procedures for four hospitals. The UCSF practice either is not performing teleradiology outside the institution or elected not to share those numbers.

Our third–highest-ranking practice was also the practice with the most FTE radiologists: Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, with 122 FTE radiologists and 21 FTE PhDs. The practice interprets a million procedures for one hospital, plus an additional 7,500 final teleradiology interpretations for one client.

Averages and Outliers

The participating practices employ an average of 79.1 FTE radiologists and PhDs, and all but four operate in an employed practice business model. The median number of procedures performed was 477,566 (considerably lower than the median number of procedures performed by the nation’s largest private practices, which was 1.1 million for the eight largest practices and 481,947 for the 14 private practices at the bottom of the largest-50 ranking).

All but three of the largest academic practices reported providing in-house nighttime coverage, but given their subspecialty expertise, surprisingly few academic practices appeared to be providing teleradiology services outside the hospitals that they cover. All but two of the nine practices that reported at least one teleradiology client provided those services in one state, presumably their own. An exception was the University of Maryland, which reported doing 263,625 final teleradiology interpretations in 25 states.

Academic practices lag behind private practices in imaging-center ownership, with an average of two per practice, but this is a number skewed low because half of the practices reported owning no imaging centers. By comparison, the median number of imaging centers owned by private practices ranged from two for those practices with fewer than 35 FTE radiologists to six for practices with more than 65 FTE radiologists.

As we looked at the data and talked with various practice managers, we recognized the opportunity to add questions that could add further clarity to the various missions of these practices. For instance, should we differentiate between clinical income and research income? Should we include the number of residents along with FTE radiologists and PhDs next year to reflect the pedagogical mission better?

Please let us know your thoughts while they are fresh.

NOTE: Special thanks to Laura Tierney at LarsonAllen who provided statistical support.

The 20 Largest Academic Radiology Practices
Click here for [Table] or [PDF]Cheryl Proval is editor of Radiology Business Journal and vice president, publishing, for imagingBiz, Tustin, California. To ensure that your academic practice is considered for the 2011 ranking, email