In the next few years, the ARRT and ASRT will begin to employ some additional topics including more direct digital and CR equipment on the content specs and in the Registry examination. Efforts are being made in Radiography programs across the country to incorporate these changes to better prepare students for their boards after graduation. There are going to be some pilot questions regarding image acquisition, construction and function of the CR processor and photostimulable phosphor screen, and DR image receptor. Computer basics and networking basics may appear, as well as technical factor selection and a whole new slew of image artifacts with digital imaging.
Those of us who have never had an introduction to this material might benefit from continuing education courses offering these topics. For instance, studies are showing with CR and DR that scale of contrast is not primarily controlled by kVp anymore, as we are all used to with film/screen imaging systems, but it is mainly determined by the algorithm selected at your QC station (chest/hand/c-spine etc.), with kV having a wider range of usability, and becoming a secondary factor. The possibilities for lowering patient dose with administration of higher kVp and lower mAs is highly effective. This is only one of the many changes that come with updates to our imaging systems.
After attending a digital radiography seminar for educators at UNC in Chapel Hill, I can honestly say the changes to what we've studied and known in the past about radiography are extreme. I challenge everyone who is reading this to embrace those changes. In order to stay competent in our highly technological field, we must all strive to keep up with this technology, and to continually try to adhere by the standards of ALARA, keeping dose low with image quality high.