Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare radiology statistics and procedures across the world with an eye to lightening the workload of radiologists in Japan.
Methods: Literature and data in the public domain were obtained for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries. This study collected and analyzed the number of (diagnostic) radiologists and physicians, computed tomography/magnetic resonance (CT/MR) units, CT/MR examinations, and workload of radiologists.
Results: Data for the number of radiologists and CT/MR units were obtained from 26 countries and, among them, data for the number of CT/MR examinations for 17 countries. The study found that in 2004 Japan had only 36 radiologists per million population, which is one-third the national average of the 26 countries surveyed, making Japan one of the lowest ranked countries. The workload of a radiologist (CT/MR examinations/year) in Japan was calculated at 6130. This is 4.3 times the global average (1440 for the 17 countries).
Conclusions: This comparison showed that the number of radiologists in Japan is the lowest among the 26 countries, and the workload is the highest. The study also showed that for Japan to provide sustainable and quality health care 8614 diagnostic radiologists--2.5 times the present number- -would be required.