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J Am Coll Radiol. 2008 Jun;5(6):748-58. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2008.01.009.

A survey of radiology practices' use of after-hours radiology services.

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Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA.



The study's purpose was to identify the characteristics of and the motives behind radiologists' use of after-hours services.


From August of 2005 to June of 2006, 300 nonspecialty hospitals randomly selected from the 2005 American Hospital Association Directory of Hospitals were contacted by phone, e-mail, and mail, with an attempt made to speak to the chiefs of radiology. We obtained 115 responses, a 38.3% response rate, including 64 from practices that used an external after-hours service. These 64 are the subject of this study. Responses were analyzed using descriptive statistical analyses.


Practices gave convenience as the most important reason they use after-hours services, with value for recruiting ranked second and shortage of radiologists for off-hours coverage ranked third. Three-fourths of practices said they receive 5% or less of their reads from these services. Two-thirds of practices paid the service approximately as much as they collected or more. Approximately 40% of respondents used an after-hours service located internationally. Of these, 56% said that the radiologists reading internationally were either all Americans or mostly Americans and 40% did not know the proportion of foreigners. Regardless, in-state licensure of all interpreting teleradiologists is essentially universal.


Most radiology groups using after-hours services do so for convenience rather than shortage of staff to provide coverage. Most practices send a small percentage of their studies to the services. Although overseas-located services are commonly used, there is little evidence of other than American radiologists or American-trained radiologists at these services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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