The practice of Emergency Radiology has undergone rapid change in the last decade: as imaging procedures are increasingly performed within short periods of time after the arrival of patients to the emergency room, the expectation for near real-time interpretations (often by subspecialists) has gained popularity. Larger emergency centers provide 24 hour on-site coverage by well trained radiologists, while others rely on the services of equally well trained radiologists located off-site, taking advantage of modern universal interconnectivity. Either way, radiologists’ input is increasingly affecting the immediate outcome of patients presenting with acute symptoms. Radiologists have embraced the challenge to protect patient safety by seeking evidence-based data to support the proper utilization of CT (including the use of alternative imaging modalities) and radiologists and CT manufacturers together have worked intensely to find optimal methods to deliver the inevitable radiation.
By Jorge A Soto, MD, Professor of Radiology, Department of Radiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Vice Chairman, Department of Radiology, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts