American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) 2012 workforce study: The radiation oncologists' and residents' perspectives

Surjeet Pohar, Claire Y. Fung, Shane Hopkins, Robert Miller, Samar Azawi, Anna Arnone, Caroline Patton, Christine Olsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Purpose The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) conducted the 2012 Radiation Oncology Workforce Survey to obtain an up-to-date picture of the workforce, assess its needs and concerns, and identify quality and safety improvement opportunities. The results pertaining to radiation oncologists (ROs) and residents (RORs) are presented here. Methods The ASTRO Workforce Subcommittee, in collaboration with allied radiation oncology professional societies, conducted a survey study in early 2012. An online survey questionnaire was sent to all segments of the radiation oncology workforce. Respondents who were actively working were included in the analysis. This manuscript describes the data for ROs and RORs. Results A total of 3618 ROs and 568 RORs were surveyed. The response rate for both groups was 29%, with 1047 RO and 165 ROR responses. Among ROs, the 2 most common racial groups were white (80%) and Asian (15%), and the male-to-female ratio was 2.85 (74% male). The median age of ROs was 51. ROs averaged 253.4 new patient consults in a year and 22.9 on-treatment patients. More than 86% of ROs reported being satisfied or very satisfied overall with their career. Close to half of ROs reported having burnout feelings. There was a trend toward more frequent burnout feelings with increasing numbers of new patient consults. ROs' top concerns were related to documentation, reimbursement, and patients' health insurance coverage. Ninety-five percent of ROs felt confident when implementing new technology. Fifty-one percent of ROs thought that the supply of ROs was balanced with demand, and 33% perceived an oversupply. Conclusions This study provides a current snapshot of the 2012 radiation oncology physician workforce. There was a predominance of whites and men. Job satisfaction level was high. However a substantial fraction of ROs reported burnout feelings. Perceptions about supply and demand balance were mixed. ROs top concerns reflect areas of attention for the healthcare sector as a whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1135-1140
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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