WHAT IS RADIOLOGY?
From our good friend, Wiki:
“Radiology, is a medical specialty that employs the use of imaging to both diagnose and treat disease visualised within the human body. Radiologists use an array of imaging technologies (such as X-ray radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose or treat diseases. Interventional radiology is the performance of (usually minimally invasive) medical procedures with the guidance of imaging technologies. The acquisition of medical imaging is usually carried out by the radiographer or radiologic technologist.”
“Two of the most rapidly changing and advancing fields today are healthcare and technology. As radiology is inherently technology-driven, radiologists have become leaders in imaging informatics and in applying technological advances into practical medical use.” (Source)
Radiology is probably the speciality that is most impacted by Internet Medicine, and the digital revolution, because of the imaging aspect of this specialty. Digititalization has tremendously increased the powers of optics, nanotechnology, and minaturization, which all lead to a quantum leap in imaging quality, and possibilities. And, in addition since the internet has made vast changes in the way that anything is distributed, this is an additional influence of change in radiology. This improvement in distribution of images allows radiographic images to be distributed, digitally, almost anywhere, at anytime.The Radiology Blogging community started way back in 2004, with Sumer Sehti MD, from India. He continues his educational blog to this day. James, a radiology resident, entertains with a comic/blog to show a lighter side of medicine and radiology (he even wrote a book of finance for poor medical students). Aunt Minnie, Rad Rounds, and Diagnostic Imaging are three excellent educational blogs. There are many many excellent education Radiology websites, the premier ones being Radiolopolis, and Radiology Education.
CHANGES IN RADIOLOGY
As far as innovations in devices, there are many in Radiology. Ultrasound is becoming more common and more portable. It will not be long before every doctor carries a portable ultrasound device in his lab coat. Interventional Radiology, with thei incorporation of digitally powered GPS allows now for more accurate placement of needles and scapels for biopsies, drainage, and excisions. Even the workhorse of the OR, the “C arm” is affected by the digital revolution, allowing it to become more accurate, more mobile, and more versatile in the Operating Room. The digital age is bringing hybridization of various radiographic technologies, such as a combination MRI/PET scan., which is stronger than each alone.In short, this time is an exciting one in Radiology, and we will, no doublt, see exponential change in the various way to image the human body.
Also, the ability to transmit images through the power of the internet, has increased the amount of Telemedicine for Radiologist, or “Teleradiology”. The patient, only the image, need to be present with the radiologist, and it does not matter where the radiologist is, as long as a good image can be transmitted. The quality and distance that good quality images can be sent, has improved expontentially, with the widepsread presence of broadband, and wireless technologies. These factors aid the growth of Teleradiology.
As Bruce Hillman says in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice“, a book about how medical imaging is changing healthcare,“…Radiology is the first global medical discipline.Radiologists have utilized imaging technology to transform their practice from a pure diagnostic discipline into a curative one. Radiologists are among the most successful knowledge workers in the entire economy, leveraging digital information technology and Internet connectivity to become the first global medical discipline. Imaging is poised to make a further quantum advance – into the workings of the human cell and the molecular biology of complex disease.”