Lori A. Deitte, MD, FACR, Chair of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Commission on Publications and Lifelong Learning, contributed this post.
The demand for medical imaging is expected to rise drastically due to an ever-growing Medicare population. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of adults 65 and older in the United States is expected to increase by nearly 18 million come 2030. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has further strained our greatest resource to address the healthcare needs of our population — physicians. According to a 2021 report from the Association of American Medical Colleges, a nationwide shortage of 37,800 to 124,000 physicians is expected by 2034.
The ACR is committed to supporting the radiology workforce through legislative avenues such as the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2021, and also by providing resources to mitigate burnout via the Well-Being Program. As radiologists, we can — and should — play an active role.
As we know, our medical students are the future of our specialty. It’s critical that we engage and mentor them early during their training, before they have decided which specialty to pursue. We must take meaningful action and continue to find opportunities to encourage them to consider radiology as a career path. In addition, we have a responsibility to educate all medical students about evidence-based imaging. Regardless of the specialty a medical student ultimately chooses, knowledge about appropriate imaging exams is critical to providing high-quality patient care.
I encourage you to utilize the resources included in the Imaging 3.0 in Practice special collection, Knowledge Sharing: Educating Medical Students About Radiology. This collection includes case studies and real-world applications to help you engage medical students in your networks and share knowledge about the importance of evidence-based imaging.Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, and join the discussion on Engage (login required).