Diagnostic imaging

Imaging modalities

Imaging for medical purposes involves the services of radiologists, radiographers, medical physicists and biomedical engineers working together as a team for maximum output. This ensures the production of high quality of radiological service with consequent improvement of health care service delivery.

WHO Goals

Given diversity of medical imaging equipment, it is important to ensure the maximum quality control. Furthermore, in order to deliver effective service, educated and trained staff should be available not only to provide the imaging service but also to maintain the equipment. Ultimately, medical imaging should be provided universally especially to those who are in need.

Medical Imaging

Medical imaging comprises different imaging modalities and processes to image human body for diagnostic and treatment purposes and therefore has an important role in the improvement of public health in all population groups. Furthermore, medical imaging is justified also to follow the course of a disease already diagnosed and/or treated. Area of medical imaging is very complex and, depending on a context, requires supplementary activities of medical doctors, medical physicists, biomedical engineers as well as technicians

Medical imaging, especially X-ray based examinations and ultrasonography, is crucial in every medical setting and at all levels of heath care. In public health and preventive medicine as well as in curative medicine, effective decisions depend on correct diagnosis. Though medical/clinical judgment maybe sufficient in treatment of many conditions, the use of diagnostic imaging services is paramount in confirming, correctly assessing and documenting course of the disease as well as in assessing response to treatment.

With improved health care policy and increasing number of available medical equipment, the number of radiological medical procedures are increasing considerably. Effective and of good quality imaging is important for further medical decision making and can reduce unnecessary procedures. Reports from some countries indicate that a significant portion of all abdominal surgical interventions (explorative laparotomy) may have been avoided if simple diagnostic imaging services such as ultrasound had been available.

Publications

The WHO manual of diagnostic imaging

Contact information

World Health Organization
Department of Essential Health Technologies
(HSS/EHT/DIM)
20 Avenue Appia
1211, Geneva 27
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 791 4836
Email: diagnosticimaging@who.int