An article published online last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests academic medical centers--which traditionally represent the finest that American healthcare has to offer--may be taking their eyes off the ball when it comes to providing emergency room radiology services.
Stephen Ledbetter, M.D., an assistant professor of radiology at the Harvard Medical School and chief of radiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, pointed out that only 10 percent of academic medical centers have seven-day, 24-hour coverage from attending radiologists. During off hours, Mitka noted, an emergency department is more likely to be covered by a resident than an attending radiologist.
The need to have more comprehensive radiology coverage in EDs has been driven by a number of circumstances. For example, patients are utilizing EDs at far greater levels than in the past, with the expectation that imaging will be available 24 hours a day. In addition, EDs increasingly are reliant on advanced imaging technologies and the radiological expertise necessary for acute medical decision-making.