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Radiologists and workplace injuries

Some Missouri residents may be among the almost 33 percent of practicing radiologists in the United States who have lower back pain related to their job. According to a commission workforce survey conducted by the American College of Radiology, lower back and neck pain are some of the most frequently occurring workplace injuries sustained by radiologists. Almost 500 radiology practice leaders were enlisted by the ACR's Human Resources Commission for the survey.

The use of the picture archiving and communication system, or PACS, could be the culprit of musculoskeletal injuries radiologists suffer. Although the radiology industry has been migrating from the legacy, film-based environment to a digital-based communication and archiving system for the last 30 years, radiologists who rely on PACS may be hurting themselves.

The PACS environment provides a number of benefits for both patients and radiologists when compared with the old film environment. Some of the advantages of the newer system include a reduced need for data storage, more efficient handling of workflow and scheduling, improved billing and easier implementation of the standardization of structured reporting.

However, the use of PACS also results in less personal interaction between radiologists and their patients and the physical impact of a computer-based work environment. Various musculoskeletal injuries, such as mouse shoulder or computer back, can be caused by working in front of a computer for an extended length of time and ineffectual workplace arrangements.

Individuals who sustain workplace injuries because of unsafe working conditions may be entitled to workers' compensation. An attorney who practices workers' compensation law may assist clients with appealing denied claims. Litigation may be used to protect the rights of injured workers and help them obtain the financial compensation they need for medical expenses, lost wages or rehabilitation that resulted from toxic exposure, occupational disease or head or back injuries.

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