Balancing the Scales: An Analysis of Social Determinants of Health, Radiology Report Acuity, and Radiology Staffing Models in an Academic Health System

Melissa A. Davis, Judy Wawira Gichoya, Imon Banerjee, Declan Sung, Janice Newsome, Brianna L. Vey, Roger Gerard, Fiza Khan, Vaz Zavaletta, Sina Mazaheri, Marta E. Heilbrun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Social determinants of health, including race and insurance status, contribute to patient outcomes. In academic health systems, care is provided by a mix of trainees and faculty members. The optimal staffing ratio of trainees to faculty members (T/F) in radiology is unknown but may be related to the complexity of patients requiring care. Hospital characteristics, patient demographics, and radiology report findings may serve as markers of risk for poor outcomes because of patient complexity. Methods: Descriptive characteristics of each hospital in an urban five-hospital academic health system, including payer distribution and race, were collected. Radiology department T/F ratios were calculated. A natural language processing model was used to classify multimodal report findings into nonacute, acute, and critical, with report acuity calculated as the fraction of acute and critical findings. Patient race, payer type, T/F ratio, and report acuity score for hospital 1, a safety net hospital, were compared with these factors for hospitals 2 to 5. Results: The fraction of patients at hospital 1 who are Black (79%) and have Medicaid insurance (28%) is significantly higher than at hospitals 2 to 5 (P < .0001), with the exception of hospital 3 (80.1% black). The T/F ratio of 1.37 at hospital 1 as well as its report acuity (28.9%) were significantly higher (P < .0001 for both). Conclusions: T/F ratio and report acuity are highest at hospital 1, which serves the most at-risk patient population. This suggests a potential overreliance on trainees at a site whose patients may require the greatest expertise to optimize care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-177
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • disparities
  • emergency radiology
  • Quality
  • staffing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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