Radiologist, Dr Ju-Mei Chang, says it’s critical to build greater awareness of the value that radiology contributes to safe patient care and improving public understanding of the vital role radiologists and radiographers play in the healthcare continuum.
‘We want to acknowledge the critical role that radiology plays to help ensure earlier detection, fewer surgeries, and improved treatment outcomes for patients,’ she says.
Radiology is all about imaging for medical purposes. The whole team includes radiographers, radiologists, sonographers, biomedical engineers, nurses, medical physicists and other support staff. Chang says radiology started with the X-ray, which changed the field of medicine forever.
‘The ability to use imaging to see inside the body has made radiology a necessity for patient care. X-rays use radiation to allow us to assess the bones and surrounding soft tissue. This allows physicians to confirm their diagnosis, for example fractures, in order to treat the patient appropriately..’
Chang says radiology has evolved into more imaging areas.
‘Along with X-rays, radiology together with advanced technology, has grown to include other imaging technology, such as CT, MRI, Fluoroscopy, and Angiography. These different technologies allow for real-time imaging of the body, providing cross-section views of the body. Without these technologies, it would be very difficult for physicians to diagnose many of the common diseases today.’
Radiology’s role is central to disease management, with a wide choice of tools and techniques available for detection of disease, staging and treatment. Diagnostic imaging provides detailed information about structural or disease related changes. Chang says there are various reasons why radiology is a critical component of overall healthcare:
- Imaging can help diagnose disease
Early diagnosis is known to save lives, and having high-quality images taken at the first sign of a problem can make a huge difference. Early treatment can prevent further complications.
- Diseases can be managed through image comparison
Imaging can provide detailed information about structural or disease-related changes. It is important to follow up with new images when requested by your doctor so they can watch for advancements or improvements and plan your treatment accordingly.
- Family and emergency doctors depend on radiology tests to determine treatment
In emergent situations, getting information quickly is critical for a patient’s treatment and recovery. The most detailed and appropriate imaging, together with test results, allows the physician to diagnose their patients effectively.
- Images can help determine when surgeries are necessary
In some circumstances, it would be very difficult to determine if a surgery is needed or not at all. A doctor cannot tell the seriousness of an internal injury or unseen disease-related changes without a clear internal view of their patient.6. They reduce the need for exploratory surgeries
Having clear internal images to diagnose presenting problems might not only determine the actual issue but prevent unneeded surgeries in some cases. Imaging is also helpful in allowing physicians to decided on the approach of surgery, which is important.
- They reduce the length of hospitalizations
Medical imaging can show improvements and give doctors a better idea of how a patient is healing post-surgery or treatment. This can lead to an earlier release and less unneeded time in hospital for a patient, benefitting not only this patient, but another who might need treatment as well.Chang says when it comes down to it, radiology assists in saving lives, by becoming a critical part of patient care.
‘Radiology is not only vital to medical care, but it’s also one of the fastest growing industries. With more and more physicians relying on radiology, this field has grown globally by 21% from 2012 to 2022.’
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