Rural radiology: Who is producing images and who is reading them?

Barbara Yawn, Sarah Krein, Jon B Christianson, David Hartley, Ira Moscovice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to identify the local availability and trends in local availability of imaging technology and interpretation services in rural hospitals in the northwestern United States during the period between 1991 to 1994. Another objective is to describe hospital and community factors associated with the diffusion of image production and interpretation services. The information for this study was gathered through telephone surveys of rural hospital administrators in eight northwestern states in 1991 and 1994. The availability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment, computed tomography (CT) scanners, ultrasonography equipment, and dedicated mammography equipment increased between 1991 and 1994. The increases in MRI units were primarily in mobile equipment, while ultrasonography and mammography equipment increases were primarily fixed hospital-based units. In 1994, image interpretation in the rural hospitals was provided by both primary care and radiology physicians. Forty-six (11.5%) of the rural hospitals had no on-site radiology services and only 73 (18%) had daily radiology services. Between 1991 and 1994, 12 hospitals gained at least once-a-week radiology services, but 24 lost all radiology services. Teleradiology availability more than doubled during the three years. Radiologic technology has diffused widely into rural communities in this region of the United States at differing rates for large and small hospitals. Radiologists are available to these hospitals only 46 percent of the days each year, with more days of availability in the larger hospitals and fewer days in the smaller hospitals. Teleradiology capability is increasing more rapidly in the larger hospitals that have radiologists more readily available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-144
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


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