Celebrating radiography’s contribution to healthcare

CAPE TOWN- World Radiography Day is celebrated annually on 8 November to highlight the profession’s vital contribution to modern healthcare. The date marks the anniversary of the discovery of x-radiation by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895.

Charmaine Mardon, a radiographer who practiced for 40 years in the Eastern Cape says that radiology is an important diagnostic tool in the world of medicine as it provides necessary information to doctors, surgeons, and specialists who read x-rays.

Mardon began her career in 1976 at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in East London. After four years she then moved to Grahamstown where she continued her passion for radiology at Settlers Hospital until 2016. 

As a radiographer, her main responsibility was to take x-rays and send them digitally to a radiologist who reads them. Other day-to-day responsibilities included quality control measures and to ensure the x-ray equipment and technology were safe to capture the images. 

“The main highlight during my career would be the introduction of digital radiography. Before, we had to process the films in the dark room which would take time. With the digital process we were able to see the images immediately and could determine if the x-ray needed to be repeated,” she said. 

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The global day is organised by the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT). It aims to raise public awareness of radiographic imaging and therapy that plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and the treatment of patients.

ISRRT President, Donna Newman said in the World Radiography Day special digital edition that the theme for 2020 is “Elevating Patient Care with Artificial Intelligence”. 

“As we celebrate it is good to know that we all have played a vital role in the delivery of medical imaging and radiation therapy for patients all over the world,” she said. 

The theme was chosen to raise awareness about radiology, the way it contributes to safe patient care and understanding the crucial role that radiologists and radiological technologists play in healthcare while using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“Today, we see AI providing useful tools for the radiographer’s daily practice to enhance workflow, including worklist designations, workflow distributions and scheduling assistance relating to reducing no shows, appointments and repeat examination,” said Newman. 

AI tools and technologies are used in specialties such as Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Computed tomography or CAT scans, Hybrid Imaging and Molecular Imaging. This advance in technology helps to improve image acquisition and sequencing as well as enabling radiation dose reduction and faster image processing times. 

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