National healthcare search and consulting firm Merritt Hawkins released its 2018 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives, which listed radiology as the fifth most requested medical specialty searched in fiscal year 2017-2018, up from 10th in the previous year's report.
"Renewed demand for radiologists was inevitable because imaging remains central to diagnostic and procedural work in today’s healthcare system, in which very little transpires without a picture," according to the report. "The importance of radiology is enhanced with each technological advance (including artificial intelligence) that makes imaging techniques more varied and effective."
Rising demand for radiology is also attributed to growing use of teleradiology, according to the report, Facilities are seeking both traditional, on-site radiologists and remote ones.
The report disclosed that the average income offered to radiologists in fiscal year 2017-2018 was $371,000, down $65,000 from the previous year.
A radiologist's average starting salary decrease by 15 percent ($436,000 to $371,000). In fiscal year 2017-2018, radiologists in academic settings had the lowest average salary ($375,000) compared to radiologists practicing in hospitals ($475,000), group settings ($450,000) or individually ($400,000), according to the report.
The 2018 review was based on a sample of the 3,045 permanent physician and advanced practitioner search assignments Merritt Hawkins/AMN Healthcare's physician staffing companies had ongoing or were engaged to conduct from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, according to the report.
"The intent of the Review is to quantify financial and other incentives offered by our clients to physician and advanced practitioner candidates during the course of recruitment. Incentives cited in the Review are based on formal contracts or incentive packages used by hospitals, medical groups and other facilities in real-world recruiting assignments," according to the report.
"Unlike other physician compensation surveys, Merritt Hawkins’ Review tracks physician starting salaries and other recruiting incentives, rather than total annual physician compensation. It therefore reflects the incentives physicians are offered to attract them to new practice settings rather than what physicians in general may actually earn."