Despite recent forecasts, the sky is not falling on radiologists

Reimbursements are down, compensation levels have been fairly flat, and aspiring radiologists are worried they're not going to be able to find the perfect job when they're ready to begin their careers. The news hasn't been great for the radiology industry.

What's more, questions have been raised about the emotional and physical well-being of radiologists who have been battling career burnout. Research published last spring also revealed a strong connection between radiology resident burnout and financial worries.

But, a recent report suggests that radiology as a specialty isn't all bad.

It seems that as a general matter, radiologists are fairly content, although they could be a little happier at work. The majority of radiologists surveyed (62 percent) reported they were "extremely" or "very" happy at home, while just 37 percent said they same thing about work. However, that percentage rose to more than 70 percent when "somewhat" happy was added to the mix. In all, in a survey of more than 26 specialties, radiologists ranked 12th on the happiness scale.

Radiologists also seem healthier than their colleagues. About 38 percent describe themselves as overweight or obese, but they are less overweight or obese than other specialists and certainly are in better shape than the U.S. population as a whole, according to the report. Additionally, they don't drink much and do a pretty good job of exercising.

As might be expected, considering the fact that radiology is one of the most highly-compensated specialties, radiologists do better than most of their colleagues at saving their money. And, despite the burnout worries, radiologists take more vacation time than any other specialists except anesthesiologists.

So, radiologists--for the most part--seem to be a fairly content, healthy, financially comfortable lot.

And, despite the fact that only about 70 percent of those surveyed said they were "extremely," "very," or "somewhat" happy in their work, my experience has been that radiologists--almost without exception--love their jobs and are extraordinarily excited about the work they do. They have the chance to work with cutting edge, advanced technology and are absolutely essential when it comes to diagnoses, patient management and monitoring disease progression.

Their work on a day-to-day basis, while it can be tremendously taxing, is also extremely rewarding.

So, while there has been quite a bit of hand-wringing lately about the state of the radiology profession, pursuing a career in the field likely isn't as bad as it seems. - Mike (@FierceHealthIT)

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