Radiologists provide more than 'reads'

December 1, 2007

The concept that radiologists provide "reads," as opposed to professional interpretation services, is degrading to the profession and misleading to those outside of our profession. It plays into the hands of all who seek to minimize and undervalue our work.

A comment regarding the editorial by John C. Hayes, "Radiology could face disruption under 'spot market' for image reads" (September, page 5).

The concept that radiologists provide "reads," as opposed to professional interpretation services, is degrading to the profession and misleading to those outside of our profession. It plays into the hands of all who seek to minimize and undervalue our work. If we as radiologists accept this "reads" label, then we will get what we deserve-relegation to commodity status with our work farmed out to the lowest bidder.

It is contradictory to insist that we are physicians concerned with the well-being and medical care of our patients and then allow our services to be treated as an auto manufacturer (payer) might treat a car part (read) placed on a vehicle (examination) by a worker (radiologist) as it traverses an assembly line (imaging service encounter).

James B. Ball Jr., M.D.
Longwood, FL