Activity-based cost analysis: A method of analyzing the financial and operating performance of academic radiology departments

Mervyn D. Cohen, Donald R. Hawes, Gary D. Hutchins, William D. McPhee, Michael B. LaMasters, Robert P. Fallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: 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. MATERIALS AND METHODS: 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. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSION: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-716
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2000


  • Cost-effectiveness Radiology and radiologists
  • Departmental management Radiology and radiologists
  • Socioeconomic issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Activity-based cost analysis: A method of analyzing the financial and operating performance of academic radiology departments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this