Noting a recent increase in osteopathic enrollment at medical schools, a new Journal of the American College of Radiology study examined what the trend may signal for the future of the radiology workforce.
Young radiologist DOs are already changing the landscape; between 2014 and 2019, the study found that the number of osteopathic radiologists increased by 46.0%, while the number of allopathic radiologists increased by just 12.1%.
To better understand the potential impacts of this shift, the authors looked at individual and practice characteristics for current radiologists in each category. They pulled data from Medicare Doctors and Clinicians Initiative databases and Physician and Other Supplier Files.
“Hypothesizing that osteopathic radiologists, related to their schooling, may more likely practice as generalists and in rural areas, we aimed to characterize the recent osteopathic versus allopathic composition of the radiologist workforce,” wrote first author Stefan Santavicca, MS, a senior data analyst at Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology and Imaging Services, and coauthors.
Indeed, radiologists with DO degrees do seem to skew toward rural areas, especially in the Midwest.
“Compared with allopathic radiologists whose distribution was more aligned with the overall US population, osteopathic radiologists were disproportionately concentrated in the Midwest and in rural and lower population density regions,” the authors wrote.
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