Chicago—Academic medical centers are often considered the top facilities for delivering health care, but some observers think the majority of these institutions should do more to ensure expert radiology coverage in the emergency department at all times. In most centers, coverage during the off hours is usually provided by a radiology resident, who is more likely than an experienced attending radiologist to make errors when assessing imaging tests.
At the November meeting of the Radiology Society of North America held here, Stephen M. Ledbetter, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of radiology at the Harvard Medical School and chief of radiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said that only 10% of academic medical centers have 24-hour coverage 7 days a week by attending radiologists (Hunter TB et al. J Am Coll Radiol. 2007;4:716-719). He called on his colleagues to establish such comprehensive coverage of emergency departments.
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Academic medical centers are urged to have an experienced radiologist available for emergency department coverage at all times, rather than relying on a radiology resident during off hours.
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