A group of researchers has recently found that radiology sees more Medicare beneficiaries than any other specialty. According to a paper presented at the American College of Radiology in Washington, DC, “not only will radiologists continue to touch more patient lives than any other medical specialty, the radiologist will also perhaps impact the practice of other subspecialties more than any other type of physician.”
Kristina Hoque, MD, PhD, Neurology Fellow at the University of Southern California; Daniel Hughes, PhD, and Jennifer Hemingway, MS, of the Neiman Health Policy Institute; and Richard Duszak, MD, Vice Chair for Health Policy and Practice delved into Medicare and other supplier files from 2013, and identified the beneficiary counts per provider while categorizing them according to provider specialty. Out of 56 physician specialties, radiologists served the most Medicare FFS beneficiaries, 3,150 ± 2,344, more than any other specialty. Cardiologists, cardiac electrophysiologists, and dermatologists were included in the top five subspecialties, and interventional radiologists came in eighth.
The report also points to the expanding use of imaging. From 1994 to 2012, cervical spine imaging for Medicare patients in an ED setting grew three-fold. Cross sectional imaging usage rises 10 percent each year.
“Knowing that the radiologist touches more lives than any other medical specialty, we should champion the Physician-Focused Payment Model development and become leaders among the other subspecialties in redesigning the implementation of national patient care,” they write.