The birth of radiologic technology began on Nov. 8, 1895, when German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered the x-ray. Hailed as a medical miracle, scientists and physicians started using x-rays in the clinical setting soon after, and its use skyrocketed in the early 20th century. Fast-forward 120 years and health care providers still rely on the x-ray to detect bone fractures, find foreign objects in the body and identify lung disease.
The x-ray is a true pioneer. It paved the way for advanced medical imaging procedures like computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine and ultrasound. In addition, radiation therapy used in cancer treatments is a descendant of the x-ray. Quite simply, the x-ray changed health care and continues to be a key player in patient care on a global scale.
An important part of the x-ray’s history includes the radiologic technologists who perform medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures. Since the early stages of the x-ray, radiologic technologists have worked to establish patient-safety protocols, patient positioning techniques, equipment processes and radiation safety guidelines. Their contributions to medical imaging and radiation therapy are a vital piece of the x-ray’s story.
In honor of this year’s National Radiologic Technology Week, Nov. 8-14, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists is highlighting the x-ray’s birthday and its profound effect on patient care with a “Discovering the Inside Story” timeline. The infographic tracks the history of medical imaging and radiation therapy using exhibits and resources featured in the newly-opened ASRT Museum and Archives, the only museum in the world devoted to telling the story of the radiologic technology profession.
Learn more about the ASRT Museum and Archives and schedule a tour here.