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ACR heeds calls to improve public perception of radiology


The American College of Radiology will begin 2008 with a new campaign to educate the U.S. public on who radiologists are and what they do.

The American College of Radiology will begin 2008 with a new campaign to educate the U.S. public on who radiologists are and what they do.

The "Face of Radiology" effort will target patients, insurance companies, government officials, and healthcare providers. It will highlight radiologists' role and the importance of their education, skills, and experience to quality patient care, said Dr. Arl Van Moore Jr., chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors.

"As medical imaging procedures increasingly replace more invasive and more costly techniques, radiology is now, more than ever, at the vanguard of medicine. We need to help all healthcare stakeholders better understand what radiologists are and what they do, so that patients can make more informed healthcare choices and payers can better understand how their coverage decisions affect patients' ability to receive the highest quality care," Van Moore said.

The campaign will use everything from grassroots organizing to communications media to get across the message that "a radiologist is the physician expert in diagnosis, patient care, and treatment through medical imaging," according to the ACR.

The drive will include targeted advertising and public relations as well as educational materials in print and electronic formats to help radiologists educate patients in face-to-face interactions. ACR-produced videos, for instance, will be made available to radiologists for their offices and waiting rooms to inform patients that the physician reviewing their medical images is "their doctor," the ACR said in a written statement published on its website.

Patients acquire their value judgments largely through personal interactions with individual medical professionals. It is important that radiologists make their role in patient care known so that patients are aware of radiology's contribution to their well-being and can choose to receive care from the physicians most qualified to provide it, Van Moore said.

"To transform the current public misperception about our profession, the distance between patient and radiologist must be bridged," he said.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

Medicine gets exciting, but who wants to do it?

Radiologists must show their faces

Interventional radiology flies under patients' radar

Radiology's future needs clinical subspecialization

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