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Shortage of Medical imaging Experts in the Nation

    Introduction

    A new study done recently, released not long ago, estimates that the shortage of medical imaging and other medical experts could climb to nearly 42,000 by 2033. This is quite terrifying if your think about it. 

    The fact is medical imaging is crucial to global healthcare. Medical imaging is the backbone that allows us to diagnose acute and chronic medical conditions. This affects patient morbidity and mortality directly. The global shortage of radiologists and medical imaging experts has made it difficult for healthcare professionals to meet the medical needs of society. 

    The shortage of medical imaging experts has led to delayed diagnoses and even undetected medical conditions that have postponed appropriate medical treatment and impacted patients’ survival. To meet the high volume of diagnostic imaging studies required, medical imaging experts are working intensely and long hours at a time. Working long hours makes them more prone to human error. 

    For this reason, there have been various solutions brought up to battle the shortage of medical imaging experts in the USA. The solutions include;

    Impact of AI

    As more medical experts retire, and the average age of the population continues to rise, we start to look to other solutions such as AI. AI will definitely increase the medical imaging expert team’s productivity enough to offset the shortage. The thing is, AI might also be part of the problem. The fact that AI is taking over, is also discouraging younger people to pursue a career in medical imagery.

    Other solutions currently in place

    • Embracing the recent expansion of the scope of practice laws allowing radiology assistants (RAs) to perform some of the same tasks Radiologists do without their direct supervision.
    • Hiring students even early while still in grad school
    • Hiring physicians out of retirement
    • Relocating providers

    Yes, we are aware that these are not solutions for the long run and cannot represent a sustainable solution to the medical imaging expert shortage in the USA, but it is a start. 

    Teleradiology:

    Teleradiology is another great solution to fight this problem. An easy way to adapt to this problem is to simply begin to outsource your report creation. No one at your practice will be overworked and stressed because they will have help! A lot of companies have already outsourced some of their reporting to help save on staffing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    It just seems natural that if the medical imaging expert shortage continues to grow, that more and more imaging sites will turn to 3rd parties for services. The fact is, only time will tell how this will play out.

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