Radiologists Say It's Time To Come Out Of The Dark | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Radiologists Say It's Time To Come Out Of The Dark

Never mind that man or woman sitting in the dark deciphering the pictures that reveal the inner workings of your body.

It's common knowledge in medicine that many radiologists pick the lucrative specialty (averaging about $315,000 in pay a year) because the hours are fairly predictable and the typical work doesn't require dealing with patients.

But radiology has an image problem with patients, it seems. Many of them don't know who the doctors are or what they do.

Only about half of patients surveyed when receiving a CT scan thought radiologists were physicians, according to results presented this week at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting in Chicago.

Why would it be any different? Radiologists, like pathologists, work in the background giving information to other doctors who diagnose and treat patients.

Patients meet the techs who put them in MRI and CT scanners or lay them down on an X-ray table. And maybe at the end of it all, patients get a disk with the pictures and a jargon-filled report of what the radiologists found.

There are exceptions, of course. Take interventional radiologists, who very definitely get to know you as they snake catheters throughout your body. And radiologists who specialize in breast imaging often work directly with patients.

Still, the radiologists from Indiana University who conducted the survey of more than 300 patients scanned at an affiliated hospital say their findings suggest patients would like to know more.

The vast majority — about 83 percent — were interested or very interested in getting a copy of their radiology reports. Nearly two-thirds would like to be able to find out more about the radiologists from website bios.

What about laying eyes on them? "We didn't answer the question, 'Do they want to meet us face to face,' " Dr. Peter Miller, a radiology resident who worked on the study, tells Shots. "But they do want to know more about us."

Miller says he and his colleagues "think ideally that radiologists do need to step out of the reading room...." It may be "economically impractical" for radiologists racing to interpret lots of images in a hurry to do much of that, he concedes. But, Miller says, "we need to find practical solutions to address the desires of patients."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Reports: Fashion Icon Oscar De La Renta Dies After Long Cancer Fight

Fashion designer Oscar de La Renta, 82, died Monday after a decade-long battle with cancer, The New York Times and other media outlets report.
NPR

Sandwich Monday: The Primanti Bros. Pitts-burger

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a sandwich from the famous Primanti Bros. of Pittsburgh.
NPR

Close Iowa Senate Race Could Come Down To How Women Vote

Joni Ernst, who's an officer in the Iowa Army National Guard, presents herself as a mother, soldier, leader. But many women aren't responding to that.
NPR

Tunisia's Emerging Tech Sector Hampered By Old Policies

When Tunisia's young people protested in 2011, they had one key demand: jobs. Now, despite new political leadership, that demand remains unmet — even in tech, the sector that offers the most promise.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.