Hybrid imaging's rise may require more cross-modality training

With physicians, radiologists, and nuclear medicine specialists being exposed to more hybrid images, a task force from the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) has recommended a series of steps to improve training and interpretation of these images.

For improved competency in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, the panel recommended more training in anatomic and functional imaging. In addition, the group concluded that there is a need for general radiologists to have basic nuclear medicine skills, and for nuclear medicine physicians to have training in anatomic imaging.

The recommendations are outlined in the June issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine (Vol. 52:6, pp. 998-1002).

The panel was co-chaired by Dr. Milton Guiberteau, academic chief of radiology and division chief of nuclear medicine at St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston, and Dr. Michael Graham, PhD, former SNM president and director of nuclear medicine at the University of Iowa.

"The younger people in the field [of nuclear medicine] are having difficulty getting jobs; that's no surprise," Graham told AuntMinnie.com. "As hybrid imaging has become so important in our field, people with regular nuclear medicine training don't find employment. It is because of radiology's dominance in the field."

Part of the issue is the perception by the radiology community that a reader needs to have certified skills to interpret a CT image -- for example, to be able to evaluate a hybrid PET/CT image, Graham said.

Training expansion

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