Experts sound the alarm on dangers facing radiologists


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Remember HAL 9000, the murderous computer in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’? This scenario doesn’t seem too far off when it comes to radiologists and the constant evolution of their technology. Luckily, they can still stay in control if they change their behaviour and remain at the head of the imaging process, experts will argue during a Professional Challenges session today at the ECR.

Radiologists must claim their place in the medical team if they are to survive. They must come out of the shadows and show that they can bring added value to the team, according to Jim Reekers, professor of interventional radiology at the University of Amsterdam, who will chair the session.

Jim Reekers, from the University of Amsterdam, will chair the session on the role of the radiologist.

Jim Reekers, from the
University of Amsterdam, will
chair the session on the role of the

“I want to make my colleagues aware that they should step out of their offices and act as doctors who work in multidisciplinary teams. Being the photographers or doctors who only give a report with a picture will not secure their future and the reason is very simple: anybody can make and look at a picture nowadays. The difference the radiologist brings is that he or she can give an interpretation of the picture within the context of a patient’s clinical situation. So the radiologist should become a doctor who gets involved with the patient’s situation,” he said.

There is more than one way to do this. For starters, to be on the same level as clinicians, radiologists must behave as such. That means they have to do more than just show the images in multidisciplinary team meetings, they have to sit and discuss them with the doctors.

“Have a junior show the images for you. While my junior presents the pictures, I am sitting together with the other specialists, and suggesting treatment and follow-up options or further diagnostic investigation. It is important to sit with the other doctors. There’s a big difference in how people see me. I’m one of them instead of being the guy who shows the pictures,” Reekers said.

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Interview: Dr. Catherine Owens, chair of the ESR Subspecialties and Allied Sciences Committee


Organisations that represent professionals working in radiological subspeciaties and allied sciences are vital parts of the ESR community. The ESR has its own body – the Subspecialties and Allied Sciences Committee – that is dedicated to discussing and highlighting issues that affect these groups. We spoke to chairperson Dr. Catherine Owens to find out about her role, the committee’s functions and some of the items on its current agenda.

ESR Office: What is the main purpose of the Subspecialties and Allied Sciences Committee (SASC) and how does it operate?

Catherine Owens: The SASC was formed to unite all of the important subspecialties within clinical radiology, and the important allied healthcare professionals. The committee is made up of the presidents of each of the ESR’s Subspecialties and Allied Sciences Member Societies. This provides a forum to highlight the common issues within radiology and to try to empower the individual groups to understand and help find joint solutions. As a united group we are more able to increase our powers to lobby national and EU groups to solve some of the current challenges facing radiologists.

Dr. Catherine Owens, chair of the ESR's Subspecialties and Allied Sciences Committee

Dr. Catherine Owens, chair of the ESR’s Subspecialties and Allied Sciences Committee

Practically speaking, the committee coordinates initiatives related to pertinent issues within all subspecialties in radiology and allied disciplines, in cooperation with the Education Committee for specific educational issues and with the Quality, Safety and Standards Committee for specific professional issues. In addition, the committee assists the European Congress of Radiology Programme Planning Committee in the preparation of the educational and scientific programme for the annual ECR meetings.

Specific tasks and responsibilities of the group include revising detailed curricula for subspecialty training in liaison with the Education Committee; devising Strategies to support the provision of subspecialist radiology; providing liaison between European subspecialty societies, allied sciences societies and the ESR; and contributing to the overall strategies of the ESR related to professional issues, training harmonisation and research collaboration.

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