New data from the Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI) indicates that radiology administrators continued to have a pessimistic outflook regarding the purchase of new equipment entering the fourth quarter of 2013. The MICI is produced by market research firm the MarkeTech Group and AHRA.
"Access to capital ... is significantly lower and at the lowest point since we created the index," Mark Renaudin, CEO and founder of MarkeTech, said in an article in AuntMinnie.com. "There is some concern about being able to get the capital budget."
AHRO CEO Ed Cronin agreed with Renaudin, saying the MICI data was unsurprising. "A lot of [our members] have been locked in a room for the month of October doing budgets, and this may be an indication that budgets are done and capital purchases are not being expected in the next year," he said. "Personally, I don't think it's a surprise [due to] the uncertainty with the whole healthcare debate, and with the way hospitals are going to get paid in the future. CFOs are being cautious."
Survey respondents included 137 imaging directors and hospital managers from across the U.S. The respondents were asked to rate their confidence levels in certain categories, with scores ranging from 0 (extremely low confidence) to 200 (extremely high confidence).
The radiology managers indicated they had a confidence level of 75 (low confidence) about whether or not they would have access to capital for imaging equipment and IT needs for the fourth quarter. This compares to an 87 in Q3.
Radiology managers exhibited pessimism in other areas, as well. For example, when asked whether their departments would grow or maintain themselves as a profit centers, managers reported a confidence level of 112, down from the 125 reported in Q2.
The pessimistic outlook among radiology managers is reflected by recent reports suggesting the U.S. diagnostic imaging market is stagnating. For example, earlier this year the Millennium Research Group issued a report predicting that the diagnostic imaging market would grow by only a half percent a year through 2017.
Other data from the MICI third-quarter survey revealed that radiology administrators continue to be skeptical about the level of compensation their facilities will receive from Medicare for diagnostic and interventional procedures.