Who are we - the Radiologists?

February 28, 2011

Many patients have visited Imaging Department of the hospital for various imaging procedures. Some of the patients left the department without encountering us. Some of the patients know the existence of a radiologist when an ultrasound or interventional procedures were being performed on them. Some are really concerned about us for dealing with daily radiation.

In Imaging Department, there are several working groups of people to provide a complete set of radiological services. These include the radiologists, the radiographers and the nurses.

Radiologists are medical doctors (MDs) or doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries using medical imaging techniques, such as X-Rays, Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Nuclear Medicine, Positron Emission Tomography (PET), and Ultrasound.

Radiologists graduate from accredited medical schools, pass a licensing examination, and then go on to complete a residency of at least four years of unique post-graduate medical education in, among other topics:
  1. Radiation safety and protection
  2. Radiation effects on the human body
  3. Appropriate performance and interpretation of quality radiological and medical imaging examinations

Radiological procedures are medically prescribed and should only be conducted by appropriately trained and certified radiologists.

We play a Key Role in Your Health by:
  1. Acting as an expert consultant to your referring physician (the doctor who sent you to the radiology department or clinic for testing) by aiding him or her in choosing the proper examination, interpreting the resulting medical images, and in using test results in your care.
  2. Treating diseases by means of minimally invasive, image-guided surgery (interventional radiology).
  3. Correlating medical image findings with other examinations and tests.
  4. Recommending further appropriate examinations or treatments when necessary, and conferring with referring physicians.
  5. Directing radiology technologists (personnel who operate the equipment) in the proper performance of quality exams.

We have the Right Training, Knowledge, and Experience

When your referring doctors tell you they have reviewed your studies, what they usually mean is that they have reviewed the radiology report and gone over the study with your radiologist.

We must remember that good health care is a team effort from the family doctors, to the nurses, to the radiologists. And while the radiologists may not be the star quarterback, they are certainly taking one for the team.

The radiographers (radiologic technologists) are the ‘backbone’ of Imaging Department. They run the X-ray equipment and work directly with the patient and radiologist. A radiologist needs a good quality set of images provided by radiographers for interpretation. The radiologic nurse usually develops and manages a care plan to help patients understand procedures and, later, recuperate from the procedures. This may also include working with a patient's family. The nurse can perform examinations or carry out preventive health measures within the prescribed guidelines and instructions of the radiologist. Often, a radiologic nurse will assist during examinations or therapy.

Computers and the digital world have influenced the science of Radiology bringing it to what it is today. Storage of digital images is undertaken by a picture archiving and communication system (PACS).

Dr. Wong Soon Li
Consultant Radiologist
Columbia Asia Hospitals- Bukit Rimau