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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2017 Dec;209(6):1308-1311. doi: 10.2214/AJR.17.18282. Epub 2017 Oct 5.

Effect of Radiology Study Flow on Report Turnaround Time.

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1 Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St, PO Box 208042, New Haven, CT 06520.



The purpose of this study was to assess the importance of relative value unit (RVU) flow and other factors in report turnaround time (TAT) in emergency radiologic operations.


RVU flow was defined as the normalized (to 60 minutes) total work RVUs for studies performed in a given time interval of 30 minutes (RVU flow 30) or 60 minutes (RVU flow 60). Twenty-five weekday emergency radiology shifts each for four radiologists were randomly selected. The institutional radiology search engine was queried to obtain the following data for each study: study completion time, work RVU, attending radiologist, and report TAT. RVU flow 30, RVU flow 60, presence of resident, and number of hours since start of shift were computed. Two separate multiple linear regression analyses were performed with RVU flow 30 or RVU flow 60 and other factors as independent variables and TAT as the dependent variable.


The study included 7378 radiology studies from 100 weekday shifts, from which 1537 RVU flow 30 and 792 RVU flow 60 data points were generated. RVU flow 60 (p = 0.0026) and RVU flow 30 (< 0.0001) were significantly associated with radiology report TAT. One attending radiologist had statistically significant lower TAT 30 and TAT 60, whereas another had a lower TAT 30 but not TAT 60. The presence of a resident was significantly associated with reduced TAT 30 (p = 0.0005) and TAT 60 (p = 0.0028).


RVU flow 60, RVU flow 30, specific attending radiologist, and presence of a resident are significantly correlated with radiology report TAT. RVU flow should be considered when evaluating radiologist and overall system performance with respect to report TAT.


emergency radiology; radiologist productivity; relative value units; turnaround time

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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