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Activity-based Cost Analysis: A Method of Analyzing the Financial and Operating Performance of Academic Radiology Departments1

Department of Radiology, Indiana University Hospital, Indianapolis, USA.
Radiology (Impact Factor: 6.21). 07/2000; 215(3):708-16. DOI: 10.1148/radiology.215.3.r00jn45708
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To develop a methodology for an activity-based cost (ABC) analysis in an academic radiology department, to test the hypothesis that the business of academic radiology can be separated into three distinct businesses-clinical activity, teaching, and research-and to determine the effect of the current teaching paradigm on clinical productivity.
Forty-seven key departmental activities were defined and distributed among the teaching, research, and clinical businesses. Individual radiologists determined the time spent in each of these activities by completing a detailed log of every activity performed during 2 weeks. All departmental revenue and costs were assigned to each activity in each of the three businesses.
The methodology provided a successful understanding of the relative costs of each of the businesses of teaching, research, and clinical activity. It also provided the departmental costs of performing the separate activities typical of each business. Key findings included the following: Faculty spends 72% of time in clinical activities, research is the most expensive service per direct activity hour, and clinical reads (23%) are the single largest departmental cost element.
ABC analysis can separate academic radiology into three businesses-teaching, research, and clinical-and provide a detailed understanding of the cost structure of each. This analysis identifies opportunities for improved quality of service, productivity, and cost within each business.

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    • "Another research from Laurila et al. (2001), studied the efficacy of continuous quality improvement (CQI) compared to ordinary management from a radiology department. Cohen et al. (2000) applied ABC to test the hypothesis that academic radiology can be separated into three distinct businesses –clinical activity, teaching and research-in order to determine the effect of the current teaching paradigm on the clinical productivity. This analysis identifies opportunities to improve quality of service, productivity and cost within each business. "
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