Advancements in Mammography

Mammography is one of the necessary tests physicians use to detect the early stages of breast cancer and other breast diseases. Fortunately, mammogram technology has advanced rapidly within the last few years and has positively impacted women’s health and wellness.

Radiological mammography has been in use through most of the 1900s, but the FDA didn’t approve digital mammography until 2000. The digital technology advancement opened up a whole new world for physicians to diagnose breast cancer earlier. Digital mammography accesses computer technology to enhance the X-ray images of the breast.

After digital mammography came into use, 3D breast imaging technology emerged in 2011. The 3D digital mammography (also known as 3D tomosynthesis) is where a technician takes multiple breast images from different angles. The technician then processes these images using computer software to create a three-dimensional reproduction of the breast.

With a three-dimensional reproduction of the breast, a radiologist can analyze the imaging slice-by-slice in great detail. This process has reduced many of the physician’s false-positive diagnoses given to women and reduced the stress of call-back appointments.

 

Since the 3D technology, companies have developed more advanced mammography equipment, tests, and computer-aided diagnosis systems (CAD). Researchers also have advanced imaging tools like whole breast ultrasound (WBUS) and magnetic resonance imaging  (MRI) to aid the mammography process.

 

Physicians may recommend patients perform regular year-to-year screening mammograms so any changes in the patient’s breast that may cause concern can be detected. A physician orders a diagnostic mammogram when the screening mammogram shows an abnormality or if the patient notes other extraordinary symptoms.

 

A diagnostic mammogram is similar to a screening mammogram, except the technician will take more images using more positions to get more explicit photos of the area. A diagnostic mammogram can define if a biopsy is needed.

 

Throughout mammogram use, the human eye has been depended on to detect abnormalities in a patient’s breast X-rays, leading to false positives and false negative exams. With the advancements in equipment, technology, and software, radiologists can detect any abnormality in breast tissue with more certainty.

 

Increased research and equipment advancements in mammograms have also decreased patients’ exposure to radiation. Studies have concluded that the benefits of mammograms nearly always outweigh the potential harm from radiation exposure. However, patients should always disclose to the X-ray technicians if they are pregnant or have other health issues at risk by using any level of radiation.

 

Newer mammography imaging tests help physicians diagnose the smallest of tumors and most minimal cell defects. These tests include positron emission mammography (PEM), optical imaging, electrical impedance tomography (EIT), and molecular breast imaging (MBI).

 

Positron emission mammography (PEM) is a scan that uses sugar attached to a radioactive particle to look for cancer cells. This test is sometimes a replacement for an MRI.

 

detecting breast cancer

Optical imaging is a test where technicians monitor the light passed into the woman’s breast and compare it to the measurement of light passing through the breast tissue. An altered reading of light will detect an area of the breast that warrants further exploration. Researchers are using this test with MRIs or 3D mammograms.

 

Since breast cancer cells conduct electricity differently than normal cells, physicians sometimes use electrical impedance tomography (EIT) as a diagnostic tool. During the test, a technician passes a bit of current through the patient’s breast and looks for changes with small electrodes applied to the skin.

 

Another test that researchers have developed is molecular breast imaging (MBI). This test is used with mammograms for women who have dense breasts. Doctors inject a radioactive drug into a patient’s vein, and the drug attaches to cancer cells, and a special camera can locate those cancer cells through the imaging process.

 

Researchers are continuing their efforts to improve mammogram results. Safe and effective screening and diagnostic mammograms will continue to improve survival statistics for women no matter what their genetic makeup, family history, or any other risk factor may indicate.

 

 Vesta Teleradiology

At Vesta, our US Board Certified Radiologists are trained to read mammography scans as well as an entire host of other types of diagnostic imaging results. Look to us to support your team. Learn more about our teleradiology services here.

 

Recent Breakthroughs in Radiology and Imaging

Since the 19th century, radiology and imaging have been making breakthroughs in clinical practice, allowing for safer and more effective treatment for millions of patients. Recent breakthroughs have made the field of radiology more dependable, cost-effective, and practical.

In the healthcare realm, radiology has become the standard for modern equipment used for preventive care, surgical treatment, diagnostics, and more. Here are some ways radiology and imaging have expanded healthcare technology:

Imaging Tests Replace Invasive Surgery

Imaging tests have gone a long way to replace exploratory diagnostic testing and unnecessary invasive surgeries. Before radiology and imaging tests, medical professionals may have had a more challenging time identifying fractures, broken bones, infections, cancers, tumors, strokes, MS, epilepsy, etc.

Imaging tests help doctors, nurses, surgeons, dentists, and more visualize what’s happening inside your body using imaging scans like X-rays, MR scans, CT scans, ultrasounds, etc., without performing invasive surgery. Seeing what’s happening inside your body is an incredible superpower, which is how imaging tests have helped save millions of lives.

If you have to undergo surgical or dental procedures, imaging tests can help guide medical professionals for accurate results.

Scan for Cancer with PET/CT

PET scans combined with CT scanning allow medical professionals to look at your biological functions, metabolic changes associated with cancer, and changes to your organs. While radiation exposure is related to this process, radiology technology is working to reduce that.

Currently, healthcare providers work on limiting exposure using specific medications, lead aprons, and more. The payoff is detecting cancer much earlier than with traditional imaging and scans. Not only can these scans look for cancer, but they can also even monitor your chemotherapy treatment.

ct scan

Breast Cancer Screening with Digital Mammography

Digital mammography is a highly effective screening method for breast cancer, especially compared to traditional methods. Digital mammograms have proven to be more accurate, effective, reliable, and easier to share with other medical providers. 

CT Angiography Blood Vessel Imaging

Until recently, angiography was performed by inserting a catheter into an artery to inject a substance visible in an X-ray. This allows medical professionals to look for internal bleeding, blockages, and other health problems. This process can take a long time, require sedatives, and have a slight chance of bleeding or blood clots. High-tech CT angiography scans provide the same information without being invasive. Plus, the new process takes less than 30 minutes.

As radiology and imaging technology keeps experiencing breakthroughs, the impact on healthcare practice is definite. We can look forward to quicker, minimally-invasive diagnostic exams, more precise and more accurate images, and the ability to share scans instantly between providers.

For patients and providers both, this represents quick visits and satisfying results. Recent breakthroughs in radiology and imaging mean the process is safer, faster, and more cost-effective.

 Teleradiology

Teleradiology itself has been an amazing advancement in the medical field, allowing radiologists from anywhere in the world, the ability to receive and interpret scans. The US Board Certified Radiologists at Vesta are able to work with any healthcare provider to provide premlin and final interpretations, and we work nights, holidays and weekends to support your staff and operations. Contact us to learn more.

Patient Safety Awareness Week: What Can Imaging Centers Do?

The foundation of health care lies with a diagnosis. Sometimes, medical professionals have barriers to providing an accurate diagnosis because they do not have the lab space or time.

This is where medical imaging centers offer invaluable assistance.

What are Imaging Centers?

Imaging centers are medical facilities run by board-certified and trained radiologists, emphasizing diagnostic and preventive healthcare. They provide a host of diagnostic tools and scans to protect and maintain your health by detecting health issues in their early stages.

What Can Imaging Centers Do?

Medical imaging centers use imaging diagnostic tools, and early-detection radiology scans to provide the following preventative screening services:

Heart Scan: This exam is a pain-free, non-invasive, highly accurate scan that only takes five minutes.

Lung Scan: Those who have ever smoked may be at higher risk for lung cancer, which can be detected with a low radiation scan.

Virtual Colonoscopy: This minimally invasive and accurate scan should be done every five years, and it is so gentle that patients do not require anesthesia.

Diagnostic Tools

Imaging centers have various tools and scans that allow physicians to monitor your health and notice potential problems. These machines often include:

X-Rays: Most people have taken at least one x-ray in their lifetime, typically at the dentist or hospital. They are a non-invasive and pain-free procedure that gives doctors a look inside the body.

 

MRI: A magnetic resonance imaging scan is another non-invasive diagnostic tool that creates images of your body’s internal systems using radio waves and magnets. MRIs are usually more detailed and are a safe way to diagnose and prevent issues. 

 

CT scan: Computed tomography scan works in tandem with specialized x-ray equipment and state-of-the-art computer systems to produce highly detailed images of the inside of the body, which can be used to identify and treat medical conditions.

 

PET/CT scan: A positron emission tomography scan is an imaging test that looks for signs of disease within the body by injecting tracers into the vein and following them under a PET scanner. This is a great way to visualize how well your tissues and organs are functioning.

When you work with an imaging center, you work alongside medical experts, including board-certified cardiologists, radiologists, pathologists, teleradiologists, and other subspecialists.

Benefits of Imaging Centers

The primary benefit of imaging centers is that they help medical professionals to detect and diagnose any disease at its most treatable, early stages. These diagnostic tools are essential in helping patients heal and survive. When you catch a medical issue early, you reduce the need for costly and invasive procedures.

Imaging center employees have the dual responsibility of caring for their patients while advocating for their safety throughout the process. Radiology and diagnostic tools, while minimally invasive, still present specific patient safety issues. Radiologists must ensure that patients and staff are protected from being directly harmed.

Patient Safety Awareness Week

Patient Safety Tips

Imaging centers can increase patient safety by ensuring that the environment is kept sanitary, quiet, with restorative lighting to encourage patient rest.

Creating a safe patient environment involves more than ensuring patient happiness. It involves high-quality patient care that is effective and efficient.

As part of a team caring for patients, radiologists are responsibility for patient safety, which can involve:

Patient safety is a crucial aspect of patient care and involves engaging and educating patients and their families. Health care providers are tasked to listen to their patients to support patient safety initiatives.

 

Teleradiology Services from Vesta

Vesta’s Teleradiology services benefit your healthcare facility because our processes integrate with your workflow. This level of efficiency helps you to better serve your patient with the quality care they need.

Innovations in Cardiac Imaging

In 1895, Wilhelm Rontgen accidentally discovered X-rays. Since then, imaging technology has drastically advanced in all areas of healthcare, including cardiac imaging.

Medical professionals in the 1960s were using ultrasound imaging, and technicians developed Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography in the 1970s. With these tools, the advancement of cardiac imaging escalated, creating real-time diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.

Advancing technology allowed cardiac physicians to perform diagnostic cardiac imaging like echocardiography and myocardial perfusion imaging in their medical offices. The trend for in-office imaging moved more to hospital settings because of the reduction of reimbursement rates in 2005 and the rapid technological changes in the industry.

Innovative technology advancement has needed to be a conglomeration of industrial, government, and academic research for cardiac imagery development to advance. Engineers, industry clinicians, and scientists have all participated in any advancements.

Two technology areas in cardiac imaging have had significant development over the past 15 years–nuclear cardiology and echocardiography. 

Nuclear Cardiology

Nuclear Cardiology uses noninvasive techniques to assess and evaluate blood flow and define the internal location of a heart attack. 

Commonly called positron emissions tomography (PET scans) or Computed X-ray tomography (CT scans), physicians can use this technology to discover the extent of heart muscle damage and the heart’s pumping function. 

Nuclear Cardiology has proven to be a superior method for safe and cost-effective diagnosis. Technicians have upgraded cameras, giving physicians higher sensitivity and resolution views than the previous models used.

Echocardiography

Echocardiography uses sound waves to display moving pictures of how heart chambers and valves work. This process can define areas where the heart muscles are not receiving adequate blood flow.

Physicians use echocardiography to locate possible blood clots within the heart and problems with the aorta. Physicians can also detect fluid buildup in the heart’s surrounding sac using echocardiography.

Echocardiography helps detect pediatric heart conditions because of the painless efficiency of the study.

The Future of Cardiac Imagery

Specialists have improved every technological aspect of cardiovascular practice within the past 50 years. Superior refinements in resolutions, measurement processes, and efficiency improve existing processes.

As with most technology-based sciences, the miniaturization of electrocardiography equipment will be the trend. Pocket-sized devices and combining diagnostic modalities through apps and computer applications will keep pace with changing health care practices.

Software development to capture real-time cardiac function and define the health of myocardial tissue is part of the newer developments in the field. Technicians are also refining more affordable methods of Cardiac MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) through research.

A shift in diagnostic technology is advancing in identifying and decreasing cardiovascular risk in patients. Improved imagery will better equip physicians in preventing adverse outcomes. Physicians can more easily define patients’ risk of cardiac issues during exercise and stress-induced blood flow issues.

 

Another benefit to early detection and assessment of the cardiac disease process through imagery will be a better understanding of all the cardiac elements involved, leading to the development of new pharmaceutical drugs to prolong patient lives. 

cardiac imaging tech

Cardiac Imagery will always be one of the best diagnostic tools available. Physicians and research teams assessing the cost-effectiveness and better patient outcomes will define the best approaches and safety in patient care management.

Outsourced Radiology

Vesta Radiologists are versed a cardiac imaging reading and a variety of other subspecialties. Further, we work nights and weekends so your staff can get the needed rest they require.

Please contact Vesta for outsourced radiology needs at 1-877-55-VESTA

Improving Patient Care with Innovative Technology

Tech in Hospitals Today

Physicians in private practice continually seek new ways to improve their patient’s care. Technology has provided an efficient and cost-effective way to maximize the delivery of health care services.

Medical communication between primary care, specialists, laboratory analysts, and hospitals has been improved and expedited through the efficiency of mobile technology and online resources.

Staff can update patient charts throughout an entire system with one update. Physicians can prescribe treatment plans within minutes, whereas before, information would sometimes take days.

The medical profession has mostly eliminated paper charts. Unique office organization methods (and some problematic handwriting) are no longer an issue with medical updating.

Technology has also offered physicians the ability to expand their office business using mobile devices and laptops. Physicians can visit and provide updates to their patients who can remain in the comfort of their homes.

Technology has provided physicians the ability to monitor special needs patients at home or in hospital settings without leaving their offices. This ability reduces the possible transmission of disease and infection from sources outside the patient’s environment.

Evolving Technology

Paper replacement and monitoring are not the only promising technology additions that will benefit physicians’ offices in the future.

Handheld ultrasound imaging has become affordable equipment. Researchers figured out how to put ultrasound technology into a computer chip rather than a $100,000 machine in a hospital. The program simply connects to an iPhone app.

 

Faster, more efficient diagnostic information is available within the confines of a physician’s office now. Programs are available that can scan the 2 million peer-reviewed research papers published every year. Clinical trial results and biomedical information can provide a physician with relationships between drugs, disease, and genes within a few minutes.

Digital capture of radiology imaging allows teleradiology reduced records to be transported almost immediately to any specialist with an internet connection. Time-sensitive treatments for head injuries and strokes can be prescribed, and more lives in rural and remote locations will be saved.

The future holds more integration of telemedicine and decision support systems for physicians. Equipment and smaller devices are more affordable to the physicians as well.

More services such as more complex surgeries may be available to physicians’ offices. With the advancement of telementoring and telerobotic surgeries, physicians may perform surgeries in their offices that would typically be performed in a hospital.

tech in hospitals

Evidence-based information and technologies can improve patient care, save lives, and save money anywhere and everywhere the internet is available–even from the physician’s office.

Vesta’s Tech Solutions

 

Vesta Teleradiology wants to improve both your experience as well as your patients’ experience. That’s why we offer tools and customizable reports that work WITH your current workflow as well as offering teleradiology to supplement your current needs. Efficiency, quick turnaround times and US Board Certified Radiologists are what make Vesta a formidable partner for your healthcare facility.

Patient Comfort During Diagnostic Imaging

The role of the radiologist has changed over recent years. The health care world once thought of these professionals as sitting in a dark room interpreting imaging data and writing reports.

Today, diagnostic imaging is used by physicians more, and the radiologist’s role has become more centrally involved with patient care. There are opportunities to connect to the patients during the diagnostic imaging process that other health care providers don’t have.

Patient comfort during any healthcare procedure provides a series of activities that gain trust and provide emotional security in the process. Diagnosticians’ communication with their patients must convey that the staff is dependable, empathetic, and knowledgeable.

Environment

When patients first arrive for their appointment, they may be apprehensive and anxious about what their diagnostic imaging may reveal about their health and future.

The waiting room is where the patients not only wait for their appointment, but it is a place where they can talk with family members. Giving the seating lots of space allows areas with quiet corners for people to speak and express anxieties they may be experiencing.

A waiting room with plants, windows, and possibly waterfalls and nature scenes provides space for relaxation, gathering thoughts, and exploring possible questions about the procedure.

Physical Comfort

Diagnosticians performing a baseline assessment of the patient’s pain levels before, during, and after any invasive procedure is essential. It is also necessary to educate staff on any pain control protocols.

Patients appreciate simple office organization like short wait times in scheduling to minimize stress. Patients also appreciate comfortable procedure gowns, comfortable room temperatures, and warm blankets, along with sheets and pillows covering the procedure tables.

By reducing the technology sounds like beepers and overhead speakers, patients can have an easier time relaxing.

Communication

Effective communication can begin with the diagnostician partnering with the patient and their families to ensure that needs and preferences are being met. By involving the patient and their family, decision-making becomes more straightforward and more confident.

Patient-centered communication skills encourage the patient to talk about psychosocial issues that may affect their health or procedures. Through this communication process, the diagnostician can respect their patient’s requests and values and address or provide counseling and resources for patient support.

patient doctor communication

The top priority in the patient and health care provider relationship is maintaining an open and honest relationship. Diagnosticians can be sure the patient understands the procedures and the results of the processes by spending time, and using any tools that can assist is most valuable.

Tools like questionnaires, pamphlets, and visual aids can help the health care provider explain the benefits, risks, procedures, and processes or what is happening with the patient’s health.

Paying attention to the patient’s emotional concerns and using their own words when encouraging them to express themselves builds their trust with their health care providers.

Imaging diagnosticians can use the time spent with the patient as teachable moments. For example, during mammography appointments, staff can inform and educate patients about the importance of colon screening and bone density tests.

It is also crucial for health care providers to practice restraint and allow quiet time for their patients. There is sometimes a tremendous amount of information to process, and it takes time for patients to deal with their feelings and formulate essential questions they may have.

enhanced patient experience

 

The importance of diagnostic imaging will continue to expand in the health care field. Advancements in cancer treatments, diagnoses, and disease prevention rely heavily on the professionalism of diagnostic imaging.

These health care professionals can experience positive relationships and trust with their patients by providing needed emotional support and conveying a genuine sense of caring.

Vesta Teleradiology wants to help you make your patients’ experience as streamlined as possible. That’s why we offer tools and customizable reports that work WITH your current workflow. We also offer 24x7x365 radiology reading services so your radiologists can have a better work life balance.

Solution and Ideas for Rural Hospital Challenges

Rural hospitals are the cornerstones of many rural communities. Not only are these facilities access points of care, but they are also significant financial support to rural areas by being primary employers.

These facilities are essential to the rural communities and make them vulnerable to financial difficulties. There are limited resources to comply with the increasing regulations on these facilities. Also, revenues are minimal due to low patient volume, shortage of physicians and other health care professionals, and a higher number of elderly, poor, and underinsured residents, along with a higher chronic illness rate.

small regional hospitals

The North Carolina Rural Health Research Program reported 95 rural hospitals closed between 2010 and 2018, resulting in a total loss of local care in some communities. Rural hospitals serve 20% of the population in the United States, making the survival of rural hospitals a priority in the health care system.

To explore solutions to the problems, in 2019, the American College of Radiology distributed a 22 question survey to explore the rural hospital systems’ staffing, recruitment, and retention issues. The responses showed interventional radiologist trained physicians either “do not want to do diagnostic work” (56.2%) or “do not want to practice in a small or rural setting” (48.8%)

The health care communities are continually exploring new models of care to improve these overall challenges rural hospitals face. Government entities and corporate and private organizations continue to explore

changing policies and enacting legislation for this health services dilemma to strengthen the viability of our rural health care systems.

Technology

Expanding the use of the internet has provided a wide choice of tools for rural hospitals to provide better health outcomes for the patients and better workload and communication for the workers.

Technology specialists have categorized solutions that may apply specifically to the rural health care systems.

More Accessible Health Information

Technology can create better communication between patients and health care providers to enhance treatment options, along with access to electronic records.

Digital Imaging

Digital imaging equipment and scanners that digitize documents and images allow radiology, pathology, and cardiology specialists to interpret these images in co-operative care centers at any distance.

Real-Time Patient Monitoring

Specialists can remotely monitor their patients in rural facilities for cardiac and ICU care.

Cooperation between health care partners is essential in the success of technology solutions for rural health care facilities. There are a variety of resources to explore if technology may seem like a viable solution.

Empowering Patients

Health care and health insurance options can be confusing, and many patients have difficulty understanding the process to get the care they need.

Each rural community has unique methods of networking and communicating. Working with existing community communication systems and creating more outreach methods to distribute

easy-to-understand materials can help patients understand their options better and make better-informed choices.

Funding

Funding for changes to the rural health care systems has come chiefly from grants. Still, cooperative agreements with associations, larger medical centers, and government entities have produced remarkable opportunities for outlying area medical facilities.

Team Effort

Partners from many organizations, health associations, vendors, government agencies, hospitals, healthcare organizations, funding groups, existing networks, and telemedicine programs are available to assist rural communities in need.

By identifying common objectives with other organizations, rural hospitals can specify health delivery problems and staffing issues to offer products and services to meet the rural facilities’ unique requirements.

By working together and overcoming obstacles rural hospitals are experiencing, the healthcare field, and the strength of the rural communities, can endure and experience a brighter future.

Vesta Teleradiology works with healthcare facilities in rural areas. No matter how large or small, we aim to help you provide the best healthcare possible for your patients. Our US Board Certified Radiologists have experience in traditional imaging as well as many subspecialties. 

By utilizing Vesta, these small individual and dependent hospitals can have the feel of being of a larger network spearheaded by Vesta. 

Since Vesta has many radiologists on staff, the hospital will expend on their offerings, have the access to multiple opinions, can consult with other hospitals in the network, no interruption in the service due to shortage of radiologists, vacation or unforeseen situations

Please reach out to us to learn more at 877-55-VESTA.

Medical Imaging Tech and Trends to Look Forward to in 2022

Medical Imaging is one of the most visionary and engaging fields in the healthcare industry. As technology grows and develops in this burgeoning field, now is an exciting time to be a part of it.

We’ve compiled a few of the latest and most exciting innovations that have the potential to enhance medical imaging and patient care greatly.

3D Printing Technology and the Future

mri 3d printing

3D printing technology has been around since the 1980s, and in that time, it has aided many healthcare professionals and is positioned to be an essential factor in the future of medicine. From the very beginning, the medical field has been able to implement it in so many areas, including customizable implants and medical devices, designing anatomical models, aiding in medical and dental procedures, and 3D bioprinting.

 3D scans and models can help guide surgeons through diagnostics and complex procedures.

A great example is the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, where cardiologists use 3D printing to better view a patient’s heart before an operation. 3D modeling assisted doctors with selecting the correct sized valve and seeing where to best position it.  

MRI  Innovations

Magnetic resonance imaging uses advanced technology to produce 3D, incredibly-detailed images of patient anatomy. Almost everyone has heard of the MRI machine and its incredible potential for diagnosing health issues and standardizing treatment. Few pictures are as clear and accurate as an MRI, and it is used in almost any medical or dental field. Plus, it is safer than traditional x-rays since it does not utilize radiation.

It’s not a stretch to realize that the MRI market will continue to grow by 2022 to keep up with an aging population and help reduce the spread of disease.

Enterprise Imaging Technology

Enterprise imaging allows medical professionals to consolidate medical imaging data into a streamlined platform. This means better patient medical records, more accessible access for healthcare professionals, efficient data control, and better medical management.

The future of medical imaging technology centers around increased accessibility between all health systems and medical facilities. Doctors, physicians, nurses, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals can easily access reports and images across multiple service lines, allowing them to provide better service to their patients and consolidate work procedures.

In the future, we can expect the role of medical imaging to increase and grow as technologies like medical sensors, artificial intelligence, better computing power, and cloud-based software take a seat in the medical field. Data will continue to grow and be consolidated, and we can only expect patient services to improve, as well.

At Vesta, we are always at the forefront of new technology and imaging innovations. Our goal is to utilize technology to help you better help your patients. In addition to radiology services, we also offer an array of IT services. We integrate PACS teleradiology and RIS information systems to improve your workflow timelines.

Let us know how we can help your healthcare facility–call us at 877-55-VESTA.

Totally Rad: Thanking Those in Radiology

Thanking Radiology Technicians

Earlier this month, the nation observed National Radiologic Technology Week (NRTW) but we believe this celebration really should be all year round.

Radiology technicians are wonderful. They are also smart to have chosen their profession. In addition to having one of the most diverse and interesting jobs, the median annual wage for magnetic resonance imaging technologists was recently at $74,690, and the job market is expected to grow 9% by 2030.

 

rad tech

In simple terms, a radiology technician’s job is to produce images of inside the human body. They are known by various titles including x-ray technologist, radiographer, radiologic technologist, and rad tech. Specific titles in certain fields of radiology are sonographer, CT technologist, MRI technologist, and nuclear medicine technologist. Regardless of their title, they all take images mainly of the chest, abdomen, hands, and feet. Some technicians perform an imaging process called fluoroscopy. This process involves injecting or swallowing dye and is done in real-time as a doctor examines a patient. Radiological technologists perform various imaging services ranging from computer tomography to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and more. All of these services are categorized as diagnostic imaging or medical imaging and aid in diagnosis and treatment.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of the radiology technician involved a high level of risk. As frontline workers, they knowingly submitted themselves to possible exposure to pathogens to attain the needed chest x-rays of critically ill patients. Their dedication is beyond admirable. Their skill set of conducting the necessary imaging, cross-checking information, and reporting examination results was vital in saving lives. In addition, their consent to subject themselves to possible radiation exposure and COVID-19 infection to aid a diagnosis demonstrates the impeccable character of these professionals.

Despite implementing the highest level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safety protocols, the possibility of infection, and ultimately death, was always present. Many radiology technicians did die due to their daily work. Astonishingly, many continued despite having lost loved ones and co-workers. Knowing death was always a possibility and moving forward with their job in spite of it categorizes these brave workers as being highly revered and even prized instrumental warriors in the fight against COVID-19.

 

radiology

The information radiographers have compiled throughout the pandemic has helped determine the most effective path to take in combating it. Not only does imaging indicate early detection of COVID-19, but it also provides information on other supplementary diagnoses and follow-up of critically ill patients.

One study compared the number of early detection chest CT scans and chest x-rays from March 2019 – March 2020 to March 2020 – March 2021. The results showed an exponentially higher number of scans for the second group. Although these results proved the scanner’s sensitivity for early diagnosis of COVID-19, they also indicated an unnecessarily high and dangerous level of radiation exposure to patients and radiographers. When submitted to the World Health Organization (WHO) to determine a safe level of radiation for patients and workers, these results aided the WHO to comprise a Rapid Advice Guide for The Use of Chest Imaging in COVID-19.

Thanks to the radiology technicians who performed these examinations and compiled this data, this guide was possible. Now, radiographers and patients can be safer.

The interesting and varied jobs they get to do along with the safeguarding they practice and the attitude they bring to their work shows that radiology technicians are totally rad!

Healthcare Quality Week: Thank you Radiology and Imaging

This week, your mind might be on the upcoming Halloween holiday and fall festivities that come around this time of year. But did you know that October 17-23 is actually Healthcare Quality Week?  This week of observance is “a dedicated time to celebrate the profession and raise awareness of the positive impact healthcare quality professionals have in their organizations and communities.”

Since Vesta has a team of dedicated radiologists as well as clients in healthcare facilities across the nation, we want to take time to acknowledge these amazing people and the processes they expertly and caringly carry out in order to provide quality healthcare.

Radiology and Imaging: A Game Changer

Radiology and imaging is one of the greatest inventions of the late nineteenth century. This powerful tool has been studied and developed, enabling millions of lives to be saved and an array of scientific discoveries in the fields of physics and biology.

 

xray radiologyGoing back to the beginning, the first X-ray picture in 1895 by Wilhelm Rontgen led to many scientific discoveries, ultimately earning Rontgenthe Nobel Prize in physics in 1901. Since then, the field of Imaging and Radiology has grown exponentially. The mystery of how matter converts energy became the focus of study as Albert Einstein furthered the exploration in 1903, allowing the world to begin to understand how these powerful rays demonstrated what our senses could not detect. Subsequently, fossils, art masterpieces, the earth, solar systems, and the universe were radioactively dated, and in 1953 the double helix of DNA was captured. From these and many other discoveries, multiple fields of study have evolved in Radiology and Imaging.

Cancer

Using radiation instead of chemotherapy to treat cancer is advantageous because radiation can be directed to the infected cells and avoid surrounding cells to a large degree. Benefits to radiation and the way it works is described in the following quote:

Radiation works by making small breaks in the DNA inside cells. These breaks keep cancer cells from growing and dividing and cause them to die.”

Utilizing radiation to treat cancer minimizes symptoms and preserves healthy cells, as opposed to chemotherapy. In some cases, chemotherapy drugs can weaken cells making them more sensitive to radiation. Ultimately, the ability to direct radiation can effectively kill specific cancer cells. This is a powerful phenomenon, especially when faced with a deadly disease.

Working as a medical imaging technologist combines a wide array of skills. Patient care, technological aptitude, data analysis, and people skills allow for a challenging and rewarding multilayered career, one that is only possible due to the discovery of electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range over one hundred years ago. Saving lives and improving quality of life due to what we all commonly call the “X-ray”, it is only appropriate to marvel at the work of Wilhelm Rontgen and thank him.

More Notable Imaging Methods that Changed the World

Fluoroscopy is a medical imaging test that uses an x-ray beam. It passes continuously through the body to create a projected image on a monitor which allows doctors to see the movement of internal organs in real-time. This is extremely helpful during surgery. Other ways fluoroscopy benefits patients are with barium X-ray enemas to examine the gastrointestinal tract, catheter insertion to direct a catheter through blood vessels, placing devices in the body such as stents, and in orthopedic surgery with joint replacement.

Ultrasound, also called sonography, uses sound waves to create internal images of the body. It is commonly used to confirm and date a pregnancy. It is also used in diagnosing a wide variety of other conditions. Diseases affecting the organs and soft tissues can be diagnosed with the help of ultrasound.  This includes the heart, blood vessels, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, uterus, ovaries, eyes, thyroid, and testicles.

3D ultrasoundFun Fact: the 3-D ultrasound actually takes thousands of photos at once to create a 3d image that is extremely clear.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasound imaging, has aided many women in avoiding having a hysterectomy. Many times, the cause of bleeding is a fibroid and a uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is needed instead. An interventional radiologist can perform this minimally invasive treatment for women with symptomatic fibroids which can be assessed through an (MRI) and then also offer further assessment and counseling.

Transvaginal ultrasound lets most women with malignant gestational trophoblastic disease be cured. Without this procedure, the cancerous and potentially cancerous cells of the pregnancy would continue to thrive putting the mother’s life at risk. Through early detection, partial and complete molar pregnancy can be detected and treated by removing it from the uterus and reproductive function can be preserved.