The number of individuals performing online searches for the term "radiology residencies" has fallen over the last several years, closely matching residency match data over the period of time, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
The researchers also determined that while searches for "radiology residencies" were decreasing, the number of searches for "radiology salary" increased, suggesting that the reduced interest in radiology residencies corresponds to what appears to be an uncertain job market.
The results from the National Resident Matching Program for diagnostic radiology increased from 2004 to 2009, but dropped dramatically from 2010 to 2013, corresponding to a period of time that saw big cuts to radiology reimbursement, study co-author Jose Morey, M.D., told AuntMinnie.com.
The researchers used Google Tends to analyze searches for the terms "radiology residency" and "radiology salary" between 2004 and 2013, determining that that the number of searches for the term "radiology residency" has been decreasing since 2004 and will continue to do so in the future.
Consequently, according to the authors, the number of medical school graduates expected to pursue radiology is also likely to fall, and even worsen, if reimbursement cuts continue.
"We need to see if the trend continues, so we'll need to do another study to follow it up," Morey told AuntMinnie.com. "But as of right now, it looks like if things keep going the way they're going, the radiology residency searches keep going downward and the numbers for MDs and DOs keep going up, we're going to see an even bigger loss of community radiologists."