Non-Relative Value Unit-Generating Activities Represent One-Fifth of Academic Neuroradiologist Productivity

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2016 Jul;37(7):1206-8. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A4701. Epub 2016 Mar 3.


Background and purpose: A neuroradiologist's activity includes many tasks beyond interpreting relative value unit-generating imaging studies. Our aim was to test a simple method to record and quantify the non-relative value unit-generating clinical activity represented by consults and clinical conferences, including tumor boards.

Materials and methods: Four full-time neuroradiologists, working an average of 50% clinical and 50% academic activity, systematically recorded all the non-relative value unit-generating consults and conferences in which they were involved during 3 months by using a simple, Web-based, computer-based application accessible from smartphones, tablets, or computers. The number and type of imaging studies they interpreted during the same period and the associated relative value units were extracted from our billing system.

Results: During 3 months, the 4 neuroradiologists working an average of 50% clinical activity interpreted 4241 relative value unit-generating imaging studies, representing 8152 work relative value units. During the same period, they recorded 792 non-relative value unit-generating study reviews as part of consults and conferences (not including reading room consults), representing 19% of the interpreted relative value unit-generating imaging studies.

Conclusions: We propose a simple Web-based smartphone app to record and quantify non-relative value unit-generating activities including consults, clinical conferences, and tumor boards. The quantification of non-relative value unit-generating activities is paramount in this time of a paradigm shift from volume to value. It also represents an important tool for determining staffing levels, which cannot be performed on the basis of relative value unit only, considering the importance of time spent by radiologists on non-relative value unit-generating activities. It may also influence payment models from medical centers to radiology departments or practices.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / economics
  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Efficiency*
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Humans
  • Mobile Applications
  • Neurologists / economics*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Radiologists / economics*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Smartphone
  • Workforce