Radiology Access

September 1, 2005

For a radiology practice, what is the standard time-to-next-available appointment?

Question: For a radiology practice, what is the standard time-to-next-available appointment?

Answer: Time to next available appointment is almost totally based on market. That is, in a rural area where access to an MRI is limited to a truck that comes every two weeks, appointment times can extend out two, four, or six weeks. For an urban market with more imaging centers than hospitals, a 24-hour turnaround - if not less - is quite likely. Of course, the timing also depends on the patient's medical condition. In addition, many radiology practices find that pre-authorization requirements by insurance companies have an impact on appointment availability - that is, some companies require a waiting period of five days from the authorization request to approval.

That said, most radiology groups deliver a two-week maximum on non-emergent outpatient services and immediate turnaround on inpatient and emergency services.