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Trends in radiation oncology workforce potentially threaten rural patients, says study

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | April 11, 2019
Rad Oncology

"What the survey showed was that for radiation oncologists who changed jobs in the three years prior to the survey, the top reasons were practice mergers/buyouts and desire for stability," said Fung. "The shift from private practice to academic centers and hospitals may possibly be related to changes in the health care landscape, where health care delivery is increasingly consolidated and smaller radiation therapy practices are increasingly acquired by large systems."

In addition, a greater adoption of new technology was observed, with 95 percent of practices offering shortened, or hypofractionated, radiation therapy primarily for breast tumors (94 percent), bone metastases (92 percent) and brain metastases (74 percent), as well as techniques such as stereotactic radiation and real-time image guidance.

An initiative to identify the factors behind the shift and tactics for increasing and maintaining access is underway, with Beyer leading it.

The survey was conducted online, with results based on the responses of 1,174 radiation oncologists from 726 practices across the country. The response rate was 31 percent.

The findings were published in the March issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (Red Journal).

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