2022 ASTRO Member Survey Results
A closer look at Member Survey Demographics
ASTRO conducts a Member Survey annually to learn more about our members’ concerns and needs and how we can serve them better as a professional society. Along with the usual categories of profession and demographics, this year’s survey delved into reasons for ASTRO membership as well as top concerns and reasons for being excited about the future of the field. The Member Survey was fielded for eight weeks, from May 24 through July 24, and was emailed to nearly 7,300 members. Just over 1,000 members responded, for a response rate of 14.3%, a slight decrease from 2021.
Survey Respondents – Profession
More than two-thirds of survey participants were radiation oncologists (ROs), distantly followed by medical physicists, whose participation was up by 4% from 2021. These percentages closely mirror the demographics of the ASTRO membership at large. Participation from ROs and residents was down from last year (3% and 2%, respectively).
Survey Respondents – Looking at Diversity
ASTRO is dedicated to diversity and expanding health equity and inclusion. With the newly established Council on Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (HEDI), we’re taking steps to better understand current membership demographics, which will help us in our HEDI efforts and are important to help us better serve our members overall. Along with survey input, we also need your individual information, so please take this as an opportunity to update your profile on ASTRO.org. Information will only be looked at in an aggregate manner and will not appear in the ASTRO directory.
Survey Respondents – Gender by Profession
In the survey, members were asked to select the gender with which they identify. The options provided were Male, Female, Non-binary, and Prefer not to specify. The responses were cross-tabulated with the profession. The percentage of female respondents increased compared with 2021 data for radiation oncologists, medical physicists and residents by 1%, 2% and 8%, respectively.
Survey Respondents – Race*
Survey respondents were asked to describe themselves. Six options were provided: White, Asian, Middle Eastern or North African, Black or African American, and Multiple or Other, and lastly, Prefer not to specify. Respondents were able to select all that apply. Almost two-thirds of respondents described themselves as white.
Survey Respondents – Ethnicity*
Nine out of 10 respondents indicated that they are not of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin (n=916).
Survey Respondents – Race by Profession
Responses were cross-tabulated against profession to give readers a closer look at how members describe themselves with regard to race.
Top Three Reasons for being an ASTRO member
ASTRO’s recognition as a premier society for radiation oncology increased modestly among both domestic and international members from last year (48% and 34%, respectively). International members valued professional development opportunities with ASTRO and access to ASTRO journals significantly more than their U.S. counterparts.
Satisfaction with ASTRO Membership
Overall, U.S. respondents reported a slight increase in satisfaction, with satisfaction among U.S. ROs and medical physicists holding steady. Satisfaction among international respondents dipped moderately, attributed mainly to the membership cost.
ASTRO Membership Satisfaction for Early Career Members
“Early career” is defined as eight years or fewer out of residency. Of ASTRO members who fall into this category, 63% of those surveyed are satisfied with membership. Of this same group, a greater percentage (83%) of international members expressed satisfaction more than their U.S. counterparts at 59%. To better serve our early career members, ASTRO established an Early Career committee this past summer to improve the Society’s support of these members and their unique needs.
U.S. residents indicated a moderate increase in satisfaction with ASTRO membership, increasing to 63% this year compared to 58% last year.
ASTRO Good Use of Time
82% of respondents agreed that ASTRO is a good use of their time.
Perceived Importance of ASTRO Functions
The top three ASTRO functions in perceived importance by U.S. ROs are to:
- Advocate on behalf of members for appropriate reimbursement and coverage (e.g., insurers, CMS).
- Educate and lobby Congress and policymakers about radiation oncology.
- Publish clinical practice guidelines and consensus documents / Support the delivery of safe and effective patient care (International).
The top three ASTRO functions in perceived importance by international ROs are to:
- Publish scientific and practice journals (Red Journal, PRO and Advances).
- Publish clinical practice guidelines and consensus documents/Support the delivery of safe and effective patient care.
- Provide education and professional development opportunities (CME/SA-CME) for physicians and other members of the treatment team.
Top Concerns Regarding Future of the Oncology Field
Regarding the future of the oncology field, more than half of all U.S. respondents indicated that patients whose treatment requires prior authorization would have a significant negative impact on clinical outcomes. This is an ever-evolving issue, and on December 6, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that sets a three-year timeline for implementing prior authorization standards to reduce the burden and improve patient care. After years of ASTRO advocacy regarding the inappropriate use of prior authorization, CMS is responding with a series of policy proposals that standardize its use, including response timeframes, clear coverage decision communications, and public reporting on the frequency of approvals, denials and appeals.
Members’ concern over their lack of influence as leaders in cancer care slightly subsided compared to last year.
For international respondents, the top concern was the cost of advanced therapies (e.g., proton). In addition, other top concerns were dependence on other medical specialists for referrals and their lack of influence as leaders in cancer care.
Top Exciting Areas in Future of the Oncology Field (Radiation oncologist and resident)
As for the future of oncology, both U.S. and international respondents are most excited about the ongoing technological innovation that improves the therapeutic ratio of external beam radiation and radiation for oligometastatic disease.
Day-to-Day Challenges Faced by Radiation Oncologists and Residents
Radiation oncologists and residents reported that their day-to-day challenges are largely the same as for 2021. Noteworthy is that two of the top three most important challenges for both radiation oncologists and residents over the next three years are payor and practice issues. Respondents rated issues on a scale of one to five, with five being absolutely critical.
ASTRO Education Format
Education is one of the key goals in ASTRO's strategic plan. The format of how education is delivered is rapidly changing due to the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was important to hear from members about which education formats they would be most likely to participate in. Four-fifths of the respondents indicated satisfaction with ASTRO’s educational and professional development offerings. Participants’ interest in online CMEs and live meetings, especially in-person meetings, increased significantly in 2022.
Importance of and Appreciation for Member Participation
Thank you to everyone who completed the 2022 ASTRO Member Survey. Your feedback is invaluable as we strategically plan ASTRO initiatives to best serve you. The survey is sent out every spring, so don’t miss the 2023 Member Survey this May! Please take the opportunity to share your input.