According to an online article found on, researchers surveyed 307 hospital patients (with a 50/50 split between education levels of high-school or lower versus some college or higher). Of these respondents, 8.8 percent admitted to having no clue what radiologists do; 55.4 percent felt confused, and only 35.8 percent said they knew. Only 53.5 percent believed radiologists are physicians, according to the study, and 32.7 percent believed radiologists to be technologists, instead.

This study builds on another published in 2008 by the American College of Radiology, wherein one in two Americans didn’t know what a radiologist was.

Do you know what a radiologist does? Here’s an excellent explanation from the American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society of North America:

A radiologist is a physician who has specialized training in obtaining and interpreting medical images, which makes him or her an imaging expert. These images are obtained by using x-rays (radiographs, CT, fluoroscopy), or radioactive substances (nuclear medicine), others by means of sound waves (ultrasound) or the body’s natural magnetism (MRI).

Nearly all physicians examine patients, obtain medical histories, diagnose illnesses, or prescribe and administer treatment for people suffering from injury or disease. According to American Medical Association statistics, 1.2 percent of those physicians specialize in radiology. A radiologist correlates medical image findings with other examinations and tests, recommends further examinations or treatments, and confers with referring physicians (the doctors who send patients to the radiology department or clinic for testing). Radiologists also treat diseases by means of radiation (radiation oncology or nuclear medicine) or minimally invasive, image-guided surgery (interventional radiology).

Like other physicians, a radiologist must have graduated from an accredited medical school and has earned an MD degree. He or she have passed a licensing examination, performed a year of internship, and completed at least four years of graduate medical education (residency) in radiology. Upon completing a residency, these doctors may choose to enter a fellowship program and sub-specialize into one or more areas of radiology.

Radiologists are usually board certified, that is, have taken and passed an examination and thus approved to practice in the field by either the American Board of Radiology (for a medical doctor) or the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology (for an osteopathic doctor).

Visit to learn more about radiology.

Capitol Imaging Services is the largest independent radiology practice of its type serving the southeastern United States. Not only do we perform the scan such as a CT or MRI, we also provide the radiology expertise to review test images and issue important findings to physicians and other health care providers.

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