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Common work-related injuries for Illinois radiologists

Almost a third of practicing radiologists in the U.S. suffer from lower back pain because of their job duties, according to a report by the American College of Radiology. Some medical experts believe that picture archiving and communication systems could be responsible for the musculoskeletal injuries. Although radiologists have been transferring from their legacy, film-based environment to an archiving and communication system with digital capability for the past 30 years, some who depend on PACS may find that the system's disadvantages outweigh its advantages in regard to their health.

The PACS environment is a significant improvement on the film environment. It allows for better billing, a higher efficiency of workflow and scheduling, less need of storage space for data and an easier method for standardization structured reporting.

However, radiologists who use PACS interact face-to-face with their patients less frequently and suffer the effects of computer-based work environments. Musculoskeletal injuries can result from sitting down in front of computers for a very long time and from an ineffectual workplace layout.

Almost 500 practice leaders were invited by the ACR's Human Resources Commission to take part in the survey. The respondents represented 33 percent of all radiologists practicing in the United States.

About 30 percent of the leaders who responded to the survey reported that radiologists who worked at their practices admitted to suffering from back pain. While a quarter stated that their radiologists had neck pain, 16 percent reported radiologists in their practice had incurred repetitive stress injuries.

People who sustain workplace injuries such as carpal tunnel may be entitled to workers' compensation. An attorney may assist a client through the filing process.

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