|NEWSRoom | Source: American Society of Radiologic Technologists|
ACR COUNCIL ACCEPTS PROPOSED LIST OF RESPONSIBILITIES FOR RADIOLOGIST ASSISTANT
The American College of Radiology recently gave an important boost to the effort to establish a new career level for radiologic technologists.
Meeting in Washington, D.C., the 250-member ACR Council voted on May 14 to support development of the radiologist assistant, an advanced-level radiologic technologist who will supplement or extend the role of the radiologist. The American College of Radiology represents more than 32,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists and medical physicists. The ACR Council is the organization's governing body.
The American Society of Radiologic Technologists has been working with the ACR for more than a year to develop proposed roles and responsibilities for the radiologist assistant, said ASRT President-elect Eileen Maloney, M.Ed., R.T.(R)(M), FASRT. The ASRT has more than 104,000 members nationwide.
"The ASRT is very pleased with the ACR Council's vote and looks forward to working with the ACR as the concept of the radiologist assistant evolves," said Ms. Maloney. She noted that ACR support of the radiologist assistant is key to the concept's acceptance by the educational community, legislative bodies, regulatory agencies and other groups.
Radiologist assistants will work under the direct supervision of a radiologist to perform selected examinations and assist with procedures. "This will reduce the amount of time required of radiologists, allowing them to focus on the medical requirements of interpretation," said Ms. Maloney. "As radiology strives to meet challenges brought on by increasing patient demand and growing work force shortages, the introduction of the radiologist assistant represents an innovative, cost-effective way to meet patient needs."
Thirteen colleges or universities have expressed interest in launching educational programs for radiologist assistants, and four schools recently received grants from the ASRT Education and Research Foundation to develop RA programs. Educational programs for RAs will be at a minimum of a baccalaureate level. The ASRT has developed an academic curriculum for RA programs, which will be supplemented by clinical preceptorships with sponsoring radiologists.
Ms. Maloney said she looks forward to the next steps in development of the RA. "The introduction of the RA will benefit radiologists, technologists and patients," she said.
What Did the ACR Vote On?
The ACR Council was asked to accept a document outlining the proposed roles and responsibilities for radiologist assistants. The text of the document reads:
A radiologist assistant is an advanced-level radiologic technologist who works under the supervision of a radiologist to enhance patient care by assisting the radiologist in the diagnostic imaging environment. The radiologist assistant is an ARRT-certified radiographer who has successfully completed an advanced academic program encompassing a nationally recognized radiologist assistant curriculum and a radiologist-directed clinical preceptorship. Under radiologist supervision, the radiologist assistant performs patient assessment, patient management and selected exams (as outlined below).
- Obtaining consent for and injecting agents that facilitate and/or enable diagnostic imaging.
- Obtaining clinical history from patient or medical record.
- Performing pre- and postprocedure evaluation of patients undergoing invasive procedures.
- Assisting radiologists with invasive procedures.
- Performing fluoroscopy for non-invasive procedures with the radiologist providing direct supervision of the service.
- Monitoring and tailoring selected exams under direct supervision (e.g., IVU, CT urogram, GI studies, VCUG and retrograde urethrograms).
- Communicating the reports of radiologist's findings to the referring physician or an appropriate representative with appropriate documentation.
- Providing nasoenteric and oroenteric feeding tube placement in uncomplicated patients.
- Performing selected peripheral venous diagnostic procedures.
The radiologist assistant will not perform interpretations (preliminary, final or otherwise) of any radiological examination, nor will he or she transmit observations other than to the supervising radiologist. The radiologist assistant may make initial observations of diagnostic images and forward them to the supervising radiologist.
The education of the radiologist assistant should be granted through nationally recognized academic programs that lead to certification through the ARRT. Advisory committees to such programs should include representation of radiologists.
The radiologist assistant should actively participate in a facility quality assurance program.
Any formal national or state certification or credentialing of RA competency should include the representation of radiologists. Any facility RA credentialing process should involve radiologists.
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