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June 20, 1980

Diagnostic Imaging in Perspective

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

JAMA. 1980;243(23):2412-2417. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300490030023

RADIOLOGY was created by technology, has been nurtured by technology, and now is being put to the test by rapid technological advances. Increased application of sophisticated imaging systems has moved the specialty in a short time from the age of technology into the age of accountability.

Radiology provides heretofore unheard-of diagnostic information, especially through the use of computers, which have revolutionized medical imaging. As radiologists perform internal physical examinations on patients, they visualize the human body in health and disease in ways never expected. While physicians desire to have the newer techniques available readily for their patients, the government desires even more strongly to limit their use to contain costs.

The position of government is understandable, since money for health care has a limit, yet the demands for more and more funds continue, with diagnostic imaging receiving about 6% of the medical dollars.1 Society cannot do all that is