How do you increase public awareness and understanding of radiology?
I believe radiology is the single most misunderstood specialty both within medicine and among the general public. How do we change this?
There needs to be radiology representation at county and state medical societies. We need to strive to take leadership roles in these societies. We also need to understand what other specialties are experiencing. We spend too much time in our radiology bubble, and then we wonder why many people have no idea the importance of our specialty. If and when we can, we need to speak directly with the patient. For instance, when a patient does not understand why she needs IV contrast, we need to be the ones explaining it to her. We can also be a bit more comforting and eloquent. Too often, the patient feels objectified when they have no contact with the radiologist, or when the radiologist enters the room but doesn't even make eye contact. When we interact with patients, we get better, more directed information from them and we show patients we are professionally engaged in their care.
“When we interact with patients, we get better, more directed information from them and we show patients we are professionally engaged in their care.” — Traci Pritchard Yanke, MD
These interactions can be brief but still effectively demonstrate that we are not faceless, nameless film readers but physicians actively engaged in their care. While relative value units (RVUs) are important and are increasingly being watched by practice leaders and employers, our value is minimized, our well-rounded understanding of medicine is wasted, and our profession is commoditized when we are primarily concerned with generating RVUs instead of caring for patients.
Traci Pritchard Yanke, MD, Vice president, Arizona Medical Imaging, Phoenix, Ariz. Treasurer, Arizona Medical Society. President, Arizona Radiological Society