Medical imaging Professionals pt.1

You don't know if you can't see.

Kasey Nunally

11/9/20225 min read

human X-ray result chart
human X-ray result chart

Across the globe millions of patients partake in medical imaging exams for diagnostic purposes. According to Fortune Business Insights even though there was a slight decline in 2020 (pandemic problems), the global market share in diagnostic medical imaging is expected to grow from approximately 36 billion dollars to 56 billion by 2028. The expected growth has attracted classic companies such as Fujifilm to develop new ultrasound systems producing ultra-clear images or the advancement of Computed-tomography exams thanks to Siemens and Koninklijke, Philip. Let us also not forget Hitachi’s work developing a 0.4T permanent open MRI! As we can see there is a lot to get excited about within the medical imaging community. This article explores some of the Allied Healthcare professionals who have become experts in the medical imaging trade and the paths undertaken to get where they are today.

Radiologic Technologists is a wonderful place to start as this position is the gateway to many of the different modalities to be covered in this article. An RT is a medical imaging expert on radiography also known as X-rays. Regulations may vary depending on location but generally speaking RTs are expected to have at least completed a two-year radiography program at an accredited institute. The education is necessary as RT’s need to learn how to apply radiation techniques that will produce the clearest x-rays while also minimizing the exposure of radiation to that patient and others nearby. Radiation techniques will vary depending on body part thickness and penetrability of the X-ray beam which can also be affected by many other factors in the surrounding environment. Students will need to also take what they learn in the lecture environment and apply these techniques in clinical practice. At first students practice positioning on each other as they try to come to grips with general positioning while racking their brain on what radiation techniques they would theoretically consider. It is not long before these students’ become masters of their craft, positioning patients dealing with severe trauma with no worries on technique as they already know the perfect settings for an optimal image.

Radiologic technologists may decide to move on to a different modality and they have many options to choose from as there is no shortage of advancements being made every year. A couple of popular choices are Computed-Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The reason you may find these two modalities grouped together is due to both modalities being able to produce high quality 3d images of the body with both also considered subsequent professions for a Radiologic Technologist. Some key differences between the two would be that CT scans utilize X-ray energy to obtain images while MRI generates its images using strong magnetic fields, CT scans are great for images of bony material while MRI can be used for better imaging of muscle layers. Doctors will use that in determining which scan is needed for the patient, but other factors may come into play such as time. CT scans can usually become completed faster and may be opted for in emergencies whereas if a patient is unable to bear the radiation dosage of a CT scan the MRI can be opted for instead. It must also be noted doctors must also be careful when ordering MRI’s as certain dangers could exist if the patient has metal inside them or even a pacemaker. Fortunately, advances are a reality as developers bring low-dose CT scanners to market as well as MRI tubes that are safe to use with metal. Of course, that is where our MRI and CT Technologists come in. Doctors can become extremely busy when attempting to juggle multiple patients where some hospitals are said to be one crisis away from a completely disorienting environment. We look to our technologists to be experts on their machine and are considered the last line of defense for a safe and beneficial imaging exam for said patient. An acute attention to every detail is necessary as even the slightest of movement or mis management of techniques could provide unfavorable outcomes.

Most RTs can utilize a C-arm for exams which is a mobile X-ray machine that can perform fluoroscopy exams with various movements around a prone or supine patient during surgery or injections. Some RTs gravitate towards this line of work and instead of moving on to 3d imaging they become specialists of the C-arm. Certain exams in fields such as pain management require that technologists be able to “swing” the c-arm. This is a term used for specialists who can constantly maneuver the c-arm in a challenging environment. With staff members present in the room during the exam to conduct procedures, combined with a high volume of patients it is more important than ever that the technologists can produce high quality images with the lowest possible x-ray dose to patients and staff members. Out of all the different modalities discussed here today pain management will be the trade that does not typically require extra certification, however let it be known that RTs are encouraged to study and train in pain management extensively as it can be turbulent waters for a green technologist.

Today we only discussed a fraction of possibilities in medical imaging and with the many different possibilities it is quite common for technologists to go ahead and become certified in multiple modalities. Some technologists are even ambitious enough to take courses in pain management to display their competency even if not legally required in some areas. For technologists, the more modalities mean the more marketable they have become. A technologist with MRI, CT and RT certifications will find affluent opportunities compared to the technologist with just one so the appeal is clear. It’s not always easy keeping track of multiple certifications as they may have different expiring dates as well as different requirements for certification. Where some may only require a state fee others require state and national fee’s as well as continuing education credits. Staying up to date with everything can be very time consuming for an allied healthcare professional who does not have the time as he or she is obviously busy performing plenteous exams!

Allied Help is looking to assist medical imaging professionals that will start by delivering the first digital credentials wallet that will be shared across multiple channels for job opportunities, verification of certifications, competencies and more! This digital wallet stays with the imaging professionals wherever they go in the world as it will become their personal market maker. For example, healthcare organizations come to Allied Help seeking not just any RT but an RT specializing in certain examinations. Lo and behold that hospital or clinic will find their perfect candidate who strives on adaptability. The opportunities are ripening, and new members of Allied Help are encouraged to seek guidance with the rest of the community on discord as the team works with current and past industry experts to add all features our allied healthcare workers desire.


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