Radiologist Burnout: Identifying and Preventing Negative Consequences

Did you know that radiologists rank 7th highest in burnout for physicians? Maybe we’ve been so focused on patient satisfaction that we’ve forgotten to worry about physician satisfaction.

So what can be done to reduce burnout? Let’s take a look.

In the articles 6 steps to reduce radiologist burnout and More control, less stress: 5 strategies to reduce radiologist burnout, the authors discuss how although burnout is an individual problem, the consequences affect the entire practice. Therefore, each individual’s success and well-being is essential to the success of the practice.

What causes burnout?

A variety of situations can cause a radiologist to feel burned out. Some of the key factors are:

  1. Inadequate Staffing

  2. Isolation

  3. Efficiency

Inadequate Staffing

Lack of staffing is not only bad for the radiologist but for the patient. Patients want results promptly and effectively, and you cannot do that without the proper staff.

For the radiologist it causes excessive hours and not enough time off. When a physician feels there is no one to cover they feel they are forced to work and unable to use that well deserved vacation time.

For late nights maybe consider a rotation service of your radiologists; instead of the whole department working late just one or two stay late when needed and go through a proper and fair rotation. Or hiring a night service.


Sitting alone in a dark room all day with a computer screen isn’t the typical idea of  “appealing.” You may be a radiologist, but you’re still human–and humans need human interaction.

If your facility is currently set up where each rad reads in their own individual room, consider creating a large reading room where multiple radiologists are reading. If in a hospital environment maybe put them with another department with their referring physicians, or emergency staff.


Radiologists want to come to work and read their studies as quickly and effectively as possible. If your current practices involve your radiologists performing a lot of administrative work, you may want to consider reassigning those duties.

You can hire radiologist assistants, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistant, etc.–whatever may work best for your facility, but ease the burden of your radiologists as well as avoid any large changes at once. Roll out changes in increments to preserve the workflow. An additional idea that will certainly help is to perform a survey to see how your individual radiologists are feeling in regards to burnout. This will help you create a plan that will be the most beneficial to your facility.

Another efficiency booster could be vetting your current software systems. Is your PACS or enterprise imaging system performing as well as it should be? Does it cause unnecessary gaps in workflow, or make it difficult for radiologists to fly through their tasks?

Some of those are questions you could ask directly to rads in a survey, but most others will require a thorough due diligence evaluation of your current software provider. If you would like help with or have any questions about this, please contact us here. We’re happy to assist with evaluation and help your facility construct a software solution just for you. After all, it’s our specialty.


This post was written by Allie Robinson, a business policy analyst with Novarad. 

#efficiency #jobstress #staffing #radiologiststress #tired #pacs #radiology #Novarad #radiologistburnout

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