Meet Gwen McIntosh, the heart of the radiology reading room team. Gwen’s original plan was to work in radiology for six months to save up for a car, but that six months has turned into nearly 40 years.
She’s seen so many changes throughout her career here at Cincinnati Children’s. She started out as a second shift file room clerk, and after only three months, was made a senior clerk and assistant supervisor. In the early days, being a file room clerk was a very demanding and physical task. Her job was to ensure that the medical images were organized and ready to be interpreted by the radiologists.
There were two different film libraries that housed images. Clerks had to locate older images in these libraries, as they were helpful when looking for changes in a patient’s health or condition over time. Once a particular image was found, the clerks would then hang the films in the reading room on a conveyor-belt-like machine called a multi-viewer. The multi-viewer had 25 slots for films, which would rotate with a push of a button at the radiologist’s feet. After the radiologist read the film, a transcriptionist would type the report and the films, along with the report, would be given back to the file room clerks for them to place back in the film library.
As if that weren’t enough, the file room clerks would also register patients for imaging studies and would perform order entry. Due to the extremely hard work involved, there was a very high turnover rate for the file room clerk position. Gwen stayed on because she loved what she did and the people she worked with. There was hardly a time that she didn’t have at least 16 hours of overtime on her paycheck.
In the early 1990’s new technology was on the horizon that would radically change the file room clerk position. Digital systems allowed medical images to be stored online instead of in film libraries and automated searches provided easy retrieval. During this period, Gwen was instrumental in creating the new position of Radiology Reading Room Assistant (or RRA) to manage the digital workflow. Today’s RRA’s have it pretty easy compared to what Gwen did when she became part of the core of our department. Because we are digital, all of the images are stored in computer systems and we no longer have to go anywhere to find old images and reports for our patients. Everything is right at our fingertips!
In 2006 Gwen became the supervising manager of the RRA’s and has created an efficient and organized operation. Through Gwen’s leadership, hard work, and dedication, the RRA has become a key role in your child’s health care team in radiology. When Gwen decides to retire someday, she promises she won’t go far. She loves the radiology department and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we love her too.