So, my midstream 2022 radiology NRMP predictions have come true. I had noticed a significant uptick in the quality of the applications and the interview candidates. And, it looks like it matched what we have found in the national radiology match results. I base this assessment upon seeing all the slots in Radiology filled and the significant increase in American MD seniors filling spots. Radiology has become more competitive in 2022.
But, we have to ask what the real reasons behind this boost in radiology interest are? And, are these results sustainable over the long haul? Let me give you my take on the situation. And, you can decide if you agree.
The Real First Post Covid Application
Out of all the reasons for the specialty becoming more competitive in 2022, I believe this reason is the most significant. It takes time to apply to ERAS for radiology. The interview process that terminated at the beginning of 2022 began in June of 2021 in ERAS. And the activities that decided the application process began up to a year before that (2020-2021). So, the issues with Covid and medicine had begun to sink in. And, I believe that some residents that would have initially thought about more “front-line” specialties such as Emergency Medicine may have seen the chaos and burnout of its physicians during the time of most intense crisis. This display likely led some applicants to choose a more sustainable and flexible lifestyle without the hassles and hazards of a pandemic. Hence, you can see the significant drop-off in specialties like Emergency Medicine. Where did these applicants go? Well, some of them probably entered the radiology fold!
Every year, our specialty becomes more flexible. The software and hardware for working at home continue to improve. And, we have more options to work from home and work. If you wish to stay home all the time, you can work in teleradiology. On the other hand, you can enter a partnership for those who want private practice. And then, of course, if you want a lifestyle of flexible hours, corporate radiology may be for you. Whatever the case may be, there is some working environment that can be right for almost anyone that enters the field.
Artificial Intelligence Hype Continues To Decline
I have noticed a steep decline in the optimism by the silicon valley folks that artificial intelligence will take over the radiologist’s job. On my end, very little has changed in the radiology field compared to the hype present 5-10 years ago. The tentacles of artificial intelligence have only slowly infiltrated our specialty. And, I don’t expect so much radical change on this front. This information is most likely trickling down to the applicants as well.
Job Market – A Necessary Ingredient To Be More Competitive In 2022
Of course, a hot job market for radiologists does not hurt. We have been going strong since after the initial phase of the pandemic. And, no one expects any change over the coming years. Nevertheless, the job market in radiology is somewhat cyclical. But, there is no hint that the cycle will end soon. Great job offers abound, and this is what the applicants hear!
The Zoom Effect
Interviewing via a screen is much less time-consuming and expensive than the old-fashioned interview. This process allows applicants to interview in other specialties than what they have considered if they did not have the zoom option. I am sure some of the applicants to radiology decided to interview with us because it is easier than ever before to do so in multiple specialties. Don’t dismiss the influence of zoom!
Radiology Residency- More Competitive In 2022!
So, what does this all mean for the next several years? Given the post-Covid effect, the excellent job market, and the increasing desirability of radiology due to the expanding flexibility, I believe this increase in applications to radiology is justifiable and sustainable for a while. I’m more bullish on radiology, which will most likely turn into the continued increasing numbers and quality of the applications. Of course, I am not a seer, so it is possible for a cyclical change, as we have seen during the Clinton presidency and the Great Recession. But, the boom in residency applications, I believe, will continue!