Emergency Radiology

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 409–416 | Cite as

Time-motion analysis of emergency radiologists and emergency physicians at an urban academic medical center

  • Warren M. PerryEmail author
  • Christoph I. Lee
  • W. Neil Steers
  • Lori A. Post
  • Howard P. Forman
Original Article


Our objective was to characterize the tasks of emergency radiologists and emergency physicians and quantify the proportion of time spent on these tasks to assess their roles in patient evaluation. Our study involved emergency radiologists and emergency physicians at an urban academic level I trauma medical center. Participants were observed for continuous 2-h periods during which all of their activities were timed and categorized into the following tasks: patient history, patient physical findings, assessment/plan, procedures, technical/administration, paperwork, and personal time. We performed multivariate analyses to compare the proportion of time spent on task categories between specialties. Twenty physicians (10 emergency medicine and 10 radiology) were observed for a total of 146,802 s (2,446.7 min). Radiologists spent a significantly larger combined proportion of time on determining physical findings and paperwork than emergency physicians (61.9 vs. 28.3 %, p < 0.0001). Emergency physicians spent a significantly larger proportion of time than radiologists on determining patient history (17.5 vs. 2.5 %, p = 0.0008) and assessment/plan (42.3 vs. 19.3 %, p < 0.0001). Both specialties devoted minimal time toward personal tasks. Radiologists play a major role in the diagnostic evaluation of a subset of acute patients, spending significantly more of their time determining physical findings than their emergency physician counterparts.


Time-motion analysis Emergency radiology Physical exam 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Am Soc Emergency Radiol 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warren M. Perry
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christoph I. Lee
    • 2
  • W. Neil Steers
    • 3
  • Lori A. Post
    • 4
  • Howard P. Forman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyUniversity of Washington School of MedicineSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services ResearchDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Emergency MedicineYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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