The Need for Radiologist Assistants

There is a dramatic gap in the demand for medical imaging procedures and available services -- a gap that likely will continue to grow. Already the need for these critical services has increased by 40 percent between 2000 and 2005. Within the next few years, the demand is expected to soar to 250 billion procedures.

The radiologist assistant position was developed by the American College of Radiology and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists to ease a national shortage of radiologists and to meet the increasing demands of imaging technology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth in the field of radiography will be faster than average with a projected increase of 18 to 26 percent during the next decade.

Radiologist assistants function as physician extenders whose focus is strictly within the radiology department. They provide expanded patient management, perform complex procedures and conduct research and teaching. One of the radiologist assistant's most important functions is providing direct patient care including preprocedure consultations and procedure preparation. In clinical practice, the radiologist assistant works under the supervision of a certified radiologist.

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