This is the first in a series of blogs designed to introduce readers to the concept of radiologic technologists and define the key role they play in every imaging department.
As we all know, radiologists need a quality image to properly diagnose a patient. And to get a quality image, you need much more than a limited x-ray machine operator in your diagnostic imaging department; you need a registered radiologic technologist (RT).
The American Society of Radiological Technologists (ASRT) defines a radiologic technologist as personnel working in any discipline or specialty area that uses radiation for diagnostic medical imaging, interventional procedures and radiation therapy, including magnetic resonance and sonographic imaging. There are five disciplines in radiologic technology: radiography, radiation therapy, magnetic resonance, sonography and nuclear medicine.
RTs are the front line of your diagnostic imaging department. They perform diagnostic imaging exams and radiation therapy treatments in a number of capacities and are trained to know and understand proper examination techniques, equipment protocols, radiation safety, radiation protection and basic patient care. RTs work directly with patients, explaining procedures and properly positioning the patient and diagnostic equipment to get the highest quality image possible. They also monitor patient exposure to radiation and use radiation safety techniques to ensure exposures for team members and patients meet ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) standards.
Radiological technologists can specialize in several fields, including:
- Bone Densitometry Technologists.
- Cardiovascular-Interventional Technologists.
- Computed Tomography Technologists.
- Magnetic Resonance Technologists.
- Nuclear Medicine Technologists.
- Quality Management Technologists.
Final thoughts | RadTechs and Diagnostic Imaging Department
Having the right technologist on your team adds professionalism and safety to your team as well as improved results for your diagnostic tests. Our next blog will discuss the radiologic technologist’s relationship with the diagnostic imaging team and patients; the third blog will cover specialty credentials for RTs.
Of course, it is important to understand that radiologic technology is a profession and not a trade. The American Society of Radiological Technologists has gone to great lengths to further this profession and set the RT apart from a limited X-ray machine operator. For a full list of the ASRT position statements, click here.
RadSite understands the inherent value a properly trained and qualified technologist can bring to your imaging department. The MIPPA Accreditation Program (MAP) evaluates technologist training and credentials when performing an accreditation review of a facility to ensure that these staff members, who play such a critical role in the diagnostic imaging process, have the qualifications to deliver the best level of care to their patients.