In Radiology Over The Past 40 Years, radiology expert witness Jordan Haber M.D. F.A.C.R., writes:
Radiology in the 1960s was considered an ancillary specialty divorced and segregated from the mainstream of practice. Internists and surgeons very frequently would have little but polite regard to the input of the radiologist. As a consequence, the Radiologist was positioned all too frequently in the basements of hospitals. Relegated to locations far from where the clinical practice hotspots are, their physical location in the hospital reflected the disinterest that the clinicians had in radiographic input. Also, stereotypically, the personality profile of the radiologist also frequently reflected his relatively passive role in clinical care. While the general surgeon often had a bravado characteristic of an outgoing engaging clinician, the Radiologist would be construed as a relatively withdrawn doctor either incapable of or not interested in interpersonal contact. He would be thought of as sitting in a dark room filled with view boxes and x-rays, avoiding the light of day and of active clinical direct practice. Both Radiologists and Psychiatrists were very peripheral from clinical care in the late 1960′s.
Now, 40 years have passed. Currently, Radiology is one of the most sought-after subspecialties in medicine. Residency positions in Radiology are only offered to medical students in the top 25% of their class. Just a few years ago, such positions were primarily and solely offered to those medical students accepted in the National Honor Society (AOA). The Radiologist, who was portrayed historically as a relatively withdrawing participant in healthcare, frequently now sits on executive boards of hospitals and rises to president of the medical staff. His leadership role in many hospitals, both academic and community, reflects the new realization that Radiology is no longer ancillary but integral in the algorithm of outpatient care. No longer is the Radiology suite in the basement. It is now located adjacent and sometimes within the emergency room, reflecting its vital importance in diagnostics and treatment development. It is now understood that Radiology’s input is critical to virtually all of the medical subspecialties.
In subsequent discussions, I will review from my perspective concerning how Radiology has become such a critical component to ongoing patient care.