Hospital-based X-ray volumes dropped 16% from 2020 to 2023

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | May 28, 2024
X-Ray
From 2020 to 2023, general X-ray procedure volumes in main hospital radiology departments declined by 16%, from 88.7 million in 2020 to 74.5 million in 2023, an annualized rate of decline of 4.3%, according to the "IMV 2024 Diagnostic X-Ray Market Outlook Report."

The report indicates varied impact based on hospital size. Hospitals with fewer than 200 beds saw an annual decrease of 4.6%, while those with 200 to 399 beds experienced a 7% decrease. Hospitals with 400 or more beds had a marginal decrease of 0.1%.

In 2023, chest, spine, abdomen/pelvis, and extremity scans combined for a total of 79% of X-ray procedures in main radiology departments. Between 2020 and 2023, chest exams sustained an average annual decrease per site of 8.5%; spine a 1% increase; abdomen/pelvis a 7.2% decrease; and extremities a 4.8% decrease.
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A focus on patient satisfaction
The report also highlights operational efficiencies in 2024, with 90% of hospital radiology departments reporting wait times of less than 24 hours for scheduled non-emergency outpatient visits. Specifically, 95% of hospitals with fewer than 200 beds, 81% of hospitals with 200 to 399 beds, and 66% of hospitals with 400 beds or more reported wait times under 24 hours.

Turnaround times for X-ray reports varied: 37% of sites reported less than an hour, 42% reported one to four hours, 9% reported four to 24 hours, and 12% reported over 24 hours. The average turnaround time for hospitals with 400 or more beds was 2.8 hours, compared to 5.6 hours for hospitals with 200 beds or fewer.

Improving patient satisfaction with their X-ray imaging experience is a top priority for X-ray departments, with 89% of sites owning or managing mobile/portable X-ray units, including those outside radiology.

Looking ahead
Despite the decline in X-ray procedure volumes in main hospital radiology departments, there is optimism about expanding radiology's clinical uses to serve a larger patient population. Additionally, the variation in decline rates across different site types and exam types suggests potential stabilization in some areas.

Looking ahead, 39% of X-ray departments believe that expanding the clinical uses of general X-rays will help grow their patient population.

The full market report can be accessed here.

As X-ray utilization decreases, a recent IMV report on PET imaging found a 10.2% increase from 2022 to 2023, with 74% of PET scans in 2023 using the radiopharmaceutical F-18 FDG-PET. The next most commonly used radiopharmaceutical was Pylarify (9%) followed by rubidium (6%), gallium-68 (3%), copper-64 (2%) and F-18 sodium fluoride, Amyvid, and Axumin each accounting for 1%.

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