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Reasons Why Radiology is So Crucial to Medical Care

By February 17, 2022No Comments
Importance of Radiology in American Healthcare

What is Radiology?

Radiology is a field of medicine that deals with imaging techniques to diagnose and treat disease.

These imaging techniques may be used for:
1. Diagnostic Purposes: To determine if a medical condition is present.
2. Interventions: Medical imaging is used to guide surgical procedures.
3. Treatment: Radiation Therapy is used to treat cancer and other diseases.

Why is Radiology so crucial to medical care?

1. Diagnosis:

In today’s world, Radiology plays a crucial role in medical management. It has a wide range of tools and techniques at its disposal that can provide detailed information about disease or injury-related structural changes in the body. It gives the treating physician assistant detailed and up-to-date information on the patient’s condition. This helps doctors to make an accurate diagnosis and initiate proper treatment.

2. Evaluating patient’s condition:

Imaging technology is used widely to study the progress in a patient’s condition and measure his response to treatment, thus guiding the doctor in the treatment process.

3. Prevention and screening:

Radiology is used in preventive screening to detect a disease in its early stages and allow doctors to nip the disease process in the bud itself and provide patients with the most effective treatment.

4. Radiation therapy:

Radiology is used in cancer treatment to relieve cancer symptoms, help contain the spread of cancer, and enhance the effectiveness of cancer. This branch of medicine called Radiation Therapy uses high doses of radiation delivered at precise locations by highly complicated equipment to control or kill cancer cells.

5. Surgical procedures and treatment methods:

Following advances in medicine and technology, Interventional Radiology has replaced open surgical problems. They are preferred to traditional procedures as they involve tiny incisions resulting in less pain and risk to the patient. They lead to shorter recovery times and the added benefit of lesser costs.

6. Research:

Data gathered from medical imaging can be used in the development of better technology and improved treatment practices.

What are the imaging techniques used by radiologists?

  • X-rays
  • Computed Tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Nuclear Medicine Scans
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  • Fusion Imaging
  • Ultrasound

Who are the members of the Radiology Team?

1. Doctors:

a.Radiologist: A doctor who specializes in Radiology is called a radiologist. He is the head of the Radiology Team. He interprets the results of the imaging procedures and conducts procedures within the scope of his study. He sends reports to the referring physicians and consults with other doctors if needed.
b.Interventional Radiologists: They use minimally invasive procedures as an alternative to open surgery to diagnose and treat various diseases, including cancer.
c.Radiation Oncologists: They are the doctors who specialize in using radiation to treat cancer. They work closely with other doctors to make and deliver radiation therapy treatment plans.

2. Technologists:

Radiology technologists are healthcare professionals who perform diagnostic imaging procedures and create images of internal organs, bones, and tissues to help the physician diagnose the ailment and determine the best course of treatment. They are also highly trained to operate a variety of sophisticated radiation therapy equipment used in cancer treatment.

3. Radiology physician assistants and radiology nurse practitioners:

They are qualified healthcare professionals who function under the oversight of radiologists. Both have an advanced level of education, and they operate as liaisons with patients in Diagnostic Radiology or perform an increasing number of interventional procedures.

4. Nurses:

Radiology nurses attend to the nursing needs of a patient, such as monitoring vital signs, administering medications, inserting Foleys and peripheral IVs, monitoring Infusaports, and more. The nurse also informs the technologist or radiologist of the patient profile, administers IV sedation or analgesia during special procedures, and closely monitors the patient’s progress.

5. Medical Physicists:

They are specialists in concepts and techniques of applying physics in medicine, and they set guidelines for radiation procedures, make sure radiation doses are safe, and work in treatment planning.

Who is a radiology physician assistant?

A radiology physician assistant is a healthcare professional who practices radiology medicine under the supervision of a licensed radiologist. They are highly trained, versatile, and can perform complementary roles to radiologists.

How can I become a radiology physician assistant?

After completing a Bachelor’s degree in science, radiology physician assistants has to gain two years of experience under a professional radiologist before doing a Master’s Degree for RPAs. They then need to clear the PANCE examination and apply for state licensure. They must also acquire a second certification in radiography.

What are the duties of a radiology physician assistant?

Under the general supervision of a physician, the radiology physician assistant is responsible for providing varied medical services, which may include:

  • Obtaining a complete medical history
  • Performing a physical examination
  • Ordering and interpreting laboratory tests and imaging studies
  • Formulating a diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Prescribing and/or dispensing medication
  • Assisting in surgery or other invasive procedures
  • Rounding on admitted patients
  • Counseling patients and families

Role of Radiologist and Radiology Physician Assistant in Radiology

In ‘The future of Radiology in Healthcare,’ the authors cite, “Radiologists have been strongly involved in technological developments and have been responsible for much of the evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of different investigations. Radiologists have developed the knowledge of the appropriate integrated imaging algorithms to maximize clinical effectiveness. They have also been responsible for the implementation of these developments into the clinical setting and for ensuring the best use of assets and healthcare resources.”

Radiology physician associates play an important role in supporting radiologists and decreasing their work burden. In a study on the role of physician assistants in Interventional Radiology, the authors cite, “Radiology practices that have hired experienced physician associates have found that they bring many useful skills that enhance the overall operation of an IR service. Physician Associates have a proven record of providing high-quality, cost-effective care, which serves to enhance patient satisfaction and the productivity of the practice they serve. As licensed health care professionals with appropriate training, PAs can perform a majority of the minor procedures in an IR practice, allowing the physicians the freedom to concentrate on more difficult and complex cases and increasing the volume of cases performed. PAs are invaluable as first contact consultants for referring services, greatly enhance continuity and quality of care, and facilitate the scheduling of cases. PA education, training, credentialing, team approach, and ability to bill for services may afford potential significant advantages for many IR practices.”

Radiology is one of the most popular branches of medical science, and it deals with the diagnosis of disease with the help of technology. Radiology is vital in healthcare as it enables doctors to have a detailed overview of the patient’s disease process and allows them to choose the optimal treatment options. In Interventional Radiology, there is also a large amount of direct patient care. As practices get busier, radiologists find less time to spend with patients. In this scenario, physician assistants help to distribute their work burden and improve clinical care. Physician associates increase the radiologist’s efficiency and provide diagnostic and therapeutic services to patients.

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