4 ways technology can help reduce radiologist burnout 

Doctor looking at CAT scans with a negative manner

Burnout amongst healthcare professionals is a growing issue, and this is especially true for radiologists. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of radiologists suffer from burnout, up from 36% in 2013 to 49% in 2017.¹ This trend has radiologist practice leaders concerned – 77% of them reported that burnout was a significant or very significant problem for them.² 

Radiologists often feel overworked and underappreciated, leading them to struggle with their emotional wellbeing and burnout.³ Increasingly complex environments and personnel shortages are compounding these issues for many radiology departments.  

How are leaders addressing the factors that lead to staff dissatisfaction, a poor work/life balance, and increased burnout? Today, many are taking a closer look at how they can fairly measure and manage the productivity of radiologists and their workload. One effective strategy is to use technology that helps successfully orchestrate complex and dynamic workloads.  

Using technology to manage workload complexities 

A Gallup Workplace study found that the top causes of employee burnout are unfair treatment and an unmanageable workload.4 It’s easy to see how these burnout risk factors can have an enormous impact radiologists’ wellbeing. Work is created 24/7, 365 days a year, so it’s challenging to measure the true productivity and accuracy of radiologists, and disparate and/or outdated PACS can make things harder instead of easier.  

But, what if technology could help address some of the biggest causes of radiologist burnout?? That same Gallup study found that two of the best strategies for addressing burnout are placing performance metrics and expectations within employees’ control and reducing noise and interruptions.4 These are two areas where technology can help deliver critical process improvements. 

4 ways a workload optimization engine (WOE) can boost productivity and reduce burnout   

Eliminate the productivity-draining clutter

Disparate technologies and complex workload distribution processes cause distractions and wasted time that also deplete radiologists’ morale. A WOE helps optimize radiologists’ time by minimizing workflow steps and distractions, decreasing frustration and allowing them to better maintain their focus. 

Smart workload prioritization and assignments

Unfair workload distribution and ‘cherry-picking’ create dissatisfaction for individual radiologists’ and disrupt the overall equilibrium of the entire practice. A WOE can provide fairer workload assignment by distributing exams based on patient history, physician performance, and real-time exam volume.  

Dynamic resource management

Exam volumes can fluctuate dramatically day to day, and even hour to hour. An effective WOE can analyze the workload against the available workforce using real time, dynamic workload and workforce data to enable radiology practices to right-size staffing based on true demand as well as the individualities of the actively reading radiologists. 

Fair incentivization

An effective WOE that goes beyond work relative value units (wRVU) can allow radiologists to be fairly credited for the wRVU and non-revenue work they complete. It can also provide real-time feedback on performance against targets and sophisticated analytics to help increase overall team productivity while also boosting staff morale. 

Radiologist burnout is not inevitable 

Burnout is an enormous problem, and leveraging technology is one strategy that can help radiology practices make meaningful progress. A WOE can elevate both productivity and morale by making it possible to balance optimal patient care delivery, cost effectiveness, and overall fairness within a complex contemporary enterprise.  

Discover how GE Healthcare’s intelligent workload management option, available for its PACS solutions, can support new methods of measuring and managing workloads to optimize radiology group practices, reduce stress, and support greater radiologist work satisfaction.  


Webinar: How to Unlock Hidden Radiology Reading Capacity

Roundtable Discussion: Building Successful Radiology Teams


1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6530597/ 

2 https://www.jacr.org/article/S1546-1440(19)30828-2/fulltext 

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6530597/ 

4 https://www.gallup.com/workplace/237185/employee-burnout-part-organizations-stop-burnout.aspx