The outsourcing of work by businesses to the cheapest available workers has received a lot of attention in recent years. It has largely escaped notice, however, that the new labor force isn’t necessarily located in Southeast Asia, but is often found here at home and is virtually free. It is us, using our laptops and smart phones to perform more and more functions once carried out by knowledgeable salespeople and service reps.
This was particularly salient to me this week: I spent an hour online browsing, comparing prices, reading customer reviews and filling out the required billing and shipping information to get a great deal on a new lamp. An airline would charge me 99 cents to talk to a person but provides information for free online. Calls to Amtrak to make train reservations are routinely answered with a message that the wait to talk to an agent is 30 minutes, but that I can book travel myself – plus get better deals – if I do it online. My bank has a small staff, limited hours and it charges extra for paper checks and mailed hard copy statements… but its Website is welcoming and useful, even at 3 a.m. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at CFAH PPF Blog*
More hospitals are resorting to so-called “dayhawk” radiology services to read their x-rays.
It’s modeled after the “nighthawk” model, where radiologists (via Shadowfax), in some cases as far away as India, remotely read films in the middle of the night.
Now, the phenomenon is happening during business hours as well, which according to radiologist Giles W. L. Boland, means that “some radiologists can no longer assume long-term job security because their core value proposition can now be outsourced.”
This trend was entirely foreseeable. Cash-strapped hospitals are finding it cheaper to outsource x-ray readings, and furthermore, it seems that both nighthawks and dayhawks provide better service and more timely interpretations. This adds up to a declining need for an in-house radiology staff.
That’s bad news for some. Radiology departments at smaller hospitals may close, and eventually general radiologist salaries will come under pressure.
The answer? Like everything else in medicine, radiology sub-specialists will increasingly be in demand. Expect procedure-based, interventional radiology to grow, since what they do cannot be outsourced. Health care costs will correspondingly rise.
So, like primary care, don’t be surprised if the days of general radiology are numbered.
**This post was originally published at Dr. Kevin Pho’s blog, KevinMD.**