Generation X-Ray

How will you commemorate this year's International Day of Radiology?generation xray

November is just around the corner, and with it comes a chance for all radiologists to celebrate.

Last year, the ACR, in conjunction with the European Society of Radiology and RSNA, celebrated the first International Day of Radiology (IDOR) on November 8. This is a day chosen to commemorate an event that radiologists know well — that fateful day 118 years ago when Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen first saw the shimmering light that would eventually become an X-ray.

Most people have received an X-ray, CT, or other imaging study, yet radiologists are not always the most visible members of a medical team. IDOR is a way to alert both health-care providers and their patients of the essential role radiologists play in health care. Ella A. Kazerooni, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Appropriateness Criteria Expert Panel on Thoracic Imaging, says that one aspect of IDOR's importance of establishing the radiologist as a physical being and a physician, rather than someone who operates a machine or is cloistered away from the patient in a dark room. Instead, she says, "radiologists have a tremendous amount of knowledge about when diagnostic imaging is appropriate. That knowledge is an integral part of radiology as a discipline. And I don't think there's any other single discipline out there that they can lay claim to that." For Hedvig Hricak, MD, PhD, FACR, IDOR is about awareness: "IDOR helps raise awareness of the important role of radiologists and the value of imaging in patient management. IDOR is a wonderful vehicle for global outreach by the radiology community."

Continuing the Legacy

The theme for the second annual IDOR will be lung imaging, with activities and advocacy efforts revolving around the importance of radiology in detecting, diagnosing, and managing lung diseases. Recently the initial data from the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial cost effectiveness analysis suggested that CT lung cancer screening for high-risk patients is as cost effective, it not more cost effective, than other cancer screenings.2 This data will hopefully achieve widespread lung CT screening for at-risk individuals.

Carving the Path

Last year's IDOR included plenty of activities, including press events, open lectures, and symposia. The German Radiological Society mailed birthday packages to more than 2,000 radiology departments. The packages contained cards, information brochures for patients, and even balloons. Hricak was especially excited to see the ESR's publication of "Making Cancer Visible: The Role of Imaging in Oncology," which explains the many ways imaging contributes to cancer care. The free booklet is available at

Last year's IDOR was a chance not only to increase the visibility of radiological practices to the public, but also to work with lawmakers to protect patients from unnecessary decreases in imaging exams. The ACR urged Congress to pass the Diagnostic Imaging Services Access Protection Act (H.R. 3269/S. 2347), which would prohibit CMS from applying the multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) until an expert panel conducted a study of professional-component efficiencies.

Ultimately, no matter how you celebrate, the International Day of Radiology is making radiology visible and bringing the specialty to the center of health care. Kazerooni says, "One of the reasons we need to be more visible is so that we can showcase what radiologists can bring to the table when it comes to diagnostic testing for patients, when providers should consider imaging studies, and how referring physicians can make sure that it's the right test for the right patient." Recognizing IDOR is one more step in the right direction of bringing radiology into the medical foreground, as radiologists continue to find dynamic, engaging ways of reaching the patients who need imaging most.

For more information about the International Day of Radiology, visit To find out more about the ACR's role in the event and to access a toolkit of online resources, visit

2. National Lung Screening Trial Research Team. “Reduced Lung Cancer Mortality with Low Dose Computed Tomographic Screening.” In press.

By Meghan Edwards

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