Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ultrasound's future in play: Will radiologists remain in the picture?


Diagnostic ultrasound is ideal for many patients. No other imaging option gives them a real-time look at their own anatomy or so openly encourages discussion with the radiologist about their symptoms and the evidence of disease on the monitor. Ultrasound is safe, patient-friendly, and inexpensive. But while patients welcome it, many radiologists in the U.S. want it to go away.

This contradiction in the application of diagnostic ultrasound was the subject of an October 2006 consensus conference of the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound (SRU) that brought ultrasound's leadership together in San Francisco. Two days of lectures and debate led to a strategy statement defining a plan to maintain radiology's leadership over the modality (see related article).

U.S. radiologists are not so much turning away from ultrasound, as they are turning toward MRI and CT, said Dr. Harvey Neiman, executive director of the American College of Radiology. Facing an unprecedented demand for their services, they increasingly choose these two modalities because of their superior speed, convenience, and profitability.

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