Severe Shortage in the number of Radiologists

Statistics show that the shortage in the number of radiologists compared to the population has affected most countries in the world, even most Western countries.

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7 SIGNS THAT DIAGNOSTIC CENTERS SHOULD INVEST IN TELE-RADIOLOGY

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Teleradiology 

Teleradiology is the transmission of radiological patient images from procedures such as x-rays photographs, Computed tomography (CT), and MRI imaging, from one location to another for the purposes of sharing studies with other radiologists and physicians.

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Pros and Cons of Teleradiology

There are numerous medical specialties in our country that–under ideal circumstances–all work together to keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe. A critical specialty area of medicine is radiology. 

read more

BENEFITS OF TELERADIOLOGY

Telemedicine is the application of information technology and telecommunications networks for the purpose of medical diagnosis and therapy from remote locations. Its usage in radiology is called “Teleradiology.”

read more

 EIGHT POINT MANTRA FOR QUALITY IN TELERADIOLOGY

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TRANSFORMATION OF RADIOLOGY USING TECHNOLOGY

Radiology has indeed come a long way since 1895, the year of the spectacular discovery of X-rays by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen. It now plays an inherently crucial role 

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 RIS/PACS FOR A TELE-RADIOLOGY APPLICATION

Most PACS and for that matter RIS on the market can do most everything…..at least that is what the brochures claim! For a Tele-radiology application, these are some of the important requirements
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Severe Shortage in the Number of Radiologists…

A Problem that Increases by Time

 

     Statistics show that the shortage in the number of radiologists compared to the population has affected most countries in the world, even most Western countries.

The required number according to international standards for any country is 100 radiologists per million citizens according to international standards, but in the previous graph we note, for example:

In Turkey, there are 50 radiologists for every million Turkish citizens.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has 33 radiologists per million Saudi citizens.

     In many Western countries, such as Britain, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, and even USA, they are still close to the minimum required.

 

      These facts will not remain as they are , the excessive abundance of radiology equipment and the increasing numbers of patients and their need for radiology examinations were and still clearly greater and faster than the relatively simple and slow increase in the number of radiologists, which led to an imbalance between the two sides.    

 

     This clear difference between the reality of the shortage of radiologists in many countries and the number of radiologists that should be available has led to a clear accumulation of radiologic examinations that are waiting to be studied and then reported.

     

     TelecoRay team, made up of doctors, engineers and technicians, lived deeply into the problem of the shortage of radiologists and the accumulation of radiologic images without anyone to complete their reports. Our TelecoRay team reached and offers the real solution through its teleradiology services it provides to you, and also through inviting  you to join the electronic application that it designed and developed to cover the ongoing shortage in the number of radiologists.

     Give us a call or let’s chat on whatsapp to see which practical offers do we have for you. 

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7 SIGNS THAT DIAGNOSTIC CENTERS SHOULD INVEST IN TELE-RADIOLOGY

In today’s competitive healthcare environment, running a diagnostic imaging center is not easy. Apart from the high equipment cost at startup, operational and ongoing financial challenges abound. A technology innovation that can assist owners of diagnostic centers in optimizing their center’s performance is teleradiology. This article lists the typical scenarios in which owners of diagnostic centers can benefit from this pathbreaking healthcare innovation.

    1. A chain of new diagnostic imaging centers is being opened.

The best time to invest in teleradiology is at the time of expansion from a single center facility (either a diagnostic center or a nursing home or hospital) to a multicenter practice setup. This is when teleradiology will bring you maximum benefits, as it will allow you to utilize your existing radiologist staffing more efficiently. One radiologist at one of the sites can potentially report Xray and CT/MRI scans for all the centers. An onsite radiologist will be required at each site for performing ultrasounds and procedures.

    1. Scans are not getting reported on time and the patients and referring doctors are complaining.

Implementing teleradiology is a highly effective way to improve your report turnaround time. It brings the images to your radiologist and allows him/her to report them instantly, instead of your having to wait for the radiologist to show up at work. Furthermore, using an efficient teleradiology workflow platform (Radspa developed by TeleradTech is one such example) can significantly improve your radiologists’ reporting efficiency and thereby further shorten the reporting times.

    1. The diagnostic imaging center has started receiving injury cases at night that need immediate reporting.

Emergency Nighthawk/urgent care is where teleradiology makes its greatest impact. If your hospital or diagnostic center is open 24 hours and scans are being performed through the night then you can greatly benefit from teleradiology, either by allowing your own radiologist to report from his or her own home at night or if that is too taxing for them, by outsourcing your reporting to a teleradiology reporting center that provides 24 x 7 services. Remember though to check reporting quality standards and accreditations!

    1. The center is unable to find a radiologist to report the scans.

In the current scenario of radiologist shortages, this is not an uncommon situation and the radiologist staffing at any site can suddenly become a problem. Teleradiology can help by either allowing your radiologist to report the scans from wherever he or she may be, or by allowing you to outsource your radiology reporting to a teleradiology reporting center.

    1. The reporting radiologist is getting frustrated and burnt out with the increasing workload.

As your diagnostic center volumes increase it may become more difficult for your radiologist to cope with the workload. In such situations, teleradiology can be a helpful backup to direct your excess case workload to a teleradiology reporting service.

    1. The radiologist is excellent with reporting xrays and ultrasounds but not comfortable with CT and MRI.

Advanced imaging techniques such as CT and MRI are rapidly evolving and becoming more and more complex, not all radiologists may be comfortable reporting all types of exams especially pediatric, musculoskeletal or cardiovascular. In such cases, referring such complex examinations to a teleradiology reporting center can improve the quality of reporting by gaining access to a subspecialist radiologist with expertise in the specific type of examination.

    1. The center requires a backup of all the scans done without the hassle of maintaining it on site.

Using teleradiology allows one to maintain a remote archive of all of one’s scans and reports, on the cloud, with complete security. This can be a valuable backup archive for an imaging center, so that there is never any loss of patient information or images.

The above points are a brief synopsis of the many benefits that teleradiology can afford to the promoters of a diagnostic imaging center. To help unleash the full potential of an imaging center, teleradiology holds the key today.

07 SEP 2020, by Teleradtech

Teleradiology

 

A CT scan of a patient's chest displayed
A CT scan of a patient’s chest is displayed through teleradiology.

Teleradiology is the transmission of radiological patient images from procedures such as x-rays photographs, Computed tomography (CT), and MRI imaging, from one location to another for the purposes of sharing studies with other radiologists and physicians. Teleradiology allows radiologists to provide services without actually having to be at the location of the patient. This is particularly important when a sub-specialist such as an MRI radiologist, neuroradiologist, pediatric radiologist, or musculoskeletal radiologist is needed, since these professionals are generally only located in large metropolitan areas working during daytime hours. Teleradiology allows for specialists to be available at all times.

Teleradiology utilizes standard network technologies such as the Internet, telephone lines, wide area networks, local area networks (LAN) and the latest advanced technologies such as medical cloud computing. Specialized software is used to transmit the images and enable the radiologist to effectively analyze potentially hundreds of images of a given study. Technologies such as advanced graphics processing, voice recognition, artificial intelligence, and image compression are often used in teleradiology. Through teleradiology and mobile DICOM viewers, images can be sent to another part of the hospital or to other locations around the world with equal effort.

Teleradiology is a growth technology given that imaging procedures are growing approximately 15% annually against an increase of only 2% in the radiologist population.

Reports

Teleradiologists can provide a preliminary read for emergency room cases and other emergency cases or a final read for the official patient record and for use in billing.

Preliminary reports include all pertinent findings and a telephone call for any critical findings. For some teleradiology services, the turnaround time is rapid with a 30-minute standard turnaround and expedited for critical and stroke studies.

Teleradiology final reports can be provided for emergency and non-emergency studies. Final reports include all findings and require access to prior studies and all relevant patient information for a complete diagnosis. Telephone calls with any critical findings are signs of quality services.

Teleradiology preliminary or final reports can be provided for all doctors and hospitals overflow studies. Teleradiology can be available for intermittent coverage as an extension of practices and will provide patients with the highest quality care.

Subspecialties

Some teleradiologists are fellowship trained and have a wide variety of subspecialty expertise including such difficult-to-find areas as neuroradiology, pediatric neuroradiology, thoracic imaging, musculoskeletal radiology, mammography, and nuclear cardiology.There are also various medical practitioners who are not radiologists that take on studies in radiology to become sub specialists in their respected fields, an example of this is dentistry where oral and maxillofacial radiology allows those in dentistry to specialize in the acquisition and interpretation of radiographic imaging studies performed for diagnosis of treatment guidance for conditions affecting the maxillofacial region.

Regulations

In the United States, Medicare and Medicaid laws require the teleradiologist to be on U.S. soil in order to qualify for reimbursement of the Final Read.

In addition, advanced teleradiology systems must also be HIPAA compliant, which helps to ensure patients’ privacy. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is a uniform, federal floor of privacy protections for consumers. It limits the ways that entities can use patients’ personal information and protects the privacy of all medical information no matter what form it is in. Quality teleradiology must abide by important HIPAA rules to ensure patients’ privacy is protected.

Also State laws governing the licensing requirements and medical malpractice insurance coverage required for physicians vary from state to state. Ensuring compliance with these laws is a significant overhead expense for larger multi-state teleradiology groups.

Medicare (Australia) has identical requirements to that of the United States, where the guidelines are provided by the Department of Health and Ageing, and government based payments fall under the Health Insurance Act.

The regulations in Australia are also conducted at both federal and state levels, ensuring that strict guidelines are adhered to at all times, with regular yearly updates and amendments are introduced (usually around March and November of every year), ensuring that the legislation is kept up to date with changes in the industry.

One of the most recent changes to Medicare and radiology / teleradiology in Australia was the introduction of the Diagnostic Imaging Accreditation Scheme (DIAS) on 1 July 2008. DIAS was introduced to further improve the quality of Diagnostic Imaging and to amend the Health Insurance Act.

Industry growth

Until the late 1990s teleradiology was primarily used by individual radiologists to interpret occasional emergency studies from offsite locations, often in the radiologists home. The connections were made through standard analog phone lines.

Teleradiology expanded rapidly as the growth of the internet and broad band combined with new CT scanner technology to become an essential tool in trauma cases in emergency rooms throughout the country. The occasional 2–3 x-ray studies a week soon became 3–10 CT scans, or more, a night. Because ER physicians are not trained to read CT scans or MRIs, radiologists went from working 8–10 hours a day, five and half days a week to a schedule of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week coverage. This became a particularly acute challenge in smaller rural facilities that only had one solo radiologist with no other to share call.

These circumstances spawned a post-dot.com boom of firms and groups that provided medical outsourcing, off-site teleradiology on-call services to hospitals and Radiology Groups around the country. As an example, a teleradiology firm might cover trauma at a hospital in Indiana with doctors based in Texas. Some firms even used overseas doctors in locations like Australia and India. Nighthawk, founded by Paul Berger, was the first to station U.S. licensed radiologists overseas (initially Australia and later Switzerland) to maximize the time zone difference to provide nightcall in U.S. hospitals.

Currently, teleradiology firms are facing pricing pressures. Industry consolidation is likely as there are more than 500 of these firms, large and small, throughout the United States.

Nonprofit

Although teleradiology is flourishing in the developed world, few teleradiological links have been made to the developing world. Generally, barriers to the implementation of radiology services have also complicated setting up reliable links.

Several examples of simple, low-cost nonprofit teleradiology solutions have been employed by Satellife and the Swinfen Charitable Trust. Established in 1987 by Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Bernard Lown, Satellife (Boston) was the first non-profit organization to own and use a low Earth orbit satellite as well as mobile computing devices such as handheld computers and mobile phones for medical data communication. Starting in 1998, Swinfen Charitable Trust, a U.K. based nonprofit organization founded by Lord and Lady Swinfen, gave healthcare personnel in remote places internet access and a digital camera, and also facilitated a low-cost telemedicine service linking doctors at hospitals in the developing world with medical and surgical consultants who gave advice at no cost.

More complex solutions emerged in 2007. Operated by volunteer radiologists, Téléradiologie sans Frontières (Teleradiology without Borders), a Luxembourg-based nonprofit organization founded by Dr Jean-Baptiste Niedercorn and Dr Gérald Wajnapel, started to provide teleradiology imaging services to developing countries using a professional cloud picture archiving and communications system (PACS).

Today, many established private teleradiology practices such as Virtual Radiologic (vRad) are also involved in pilot programs with NGOs, reporting radiographs from rural health centres, free of charge.

 last edited on 9 May 2024, by wikipedia

 

The Pros and Cons of Teleradiology

     There are numerous medical specialties in our country that–under ideal circumstances–all work together to keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe.

      One of the most critical specialty areas of medicine is radiology.  In some unfortunate circumstances, radiology is the focus of a medical malpractice suit. 

     Radiology malpractice lawsuits can involve local radiologists at your hospital and clinic, or remote radiologists who practice several states away when they interpret your imaging. 

WHAT IS RADIOLOGY, AND HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO TELERADIOLOGY?

Radiology is a medical specialty in which images of the body’s organs are used to diagnose illness.

A radiologist is a medical doctor that has gone through extensive training (residency and often a fellowship) to interpret these medical images and accurately report their findings.

When such images are taken, a radiologist will study them, diagnose what these images show, and then share the results with the doctor that ordered the imaging.

Radiologists and radiology are crucial to nearly every area of medicine. 

Teleradiology is a concept that has been around for several years.

Typically, hospitals have an in-house radiology department. However, it may come as a surprise to know that many hospitals do not have these departments.

Instead, they use “teleradiology”, a practice that involves remote reading and reporting of imaging.  It is a way that hospitals can save money. 

Teleradiology usually involves more steps to reach a conclusion than regular radiology:

    • An x-ray or other type of medical imaging is taken at the hospital;
    • These images are then electronically delivered to an off-site radiology group, often somewhere far away;
    • A radiologist receives your images, interprets them, and gives a diagnosis;
    • The radiologist documents their findings and sends a copy to your doctor; and
    • Your doctor’s office or hospital prints the report and your images to add to your chart.

While this may sound simple, it is very easy for lines to get crossed and communications to go awry. This is why teleradiology is often at the center of medical malpractice cases.

PRO: IT’S COST EFFECTIVE FOR HOSPITALS

While there could be various factors affecting a hospital’s decision not to have an in-house radiology department, the decision is usually money-related.

Radiology departments can be costly for a hospital, but radiologists are still vital, so the next best option is teleradiology.

Teleradiology is most often used by smaller hospitals with fewer resources than larger hospitals. Teleradiology fulfills the hospital’s need for radiologists while keeping costs low.

CON: IT IS EASY FOR MISCOMMUNICATION TO OCCUR

Because doctors are not discussing your medical images and findings face-to-face, miscommunication can happen.

Your doctor does not directly communicate with the radiologist they rely on and often doesn’t even know the radiologist.

Everything is also sent back and forth electronically, making it easy for an important patient fact to go unnoticed, or for some form of miscommunication to occur. Unfortunately, teleradiology can be very impersonal. 

PRO: IT CAN QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY GIVE YOU THE ANSWERS YOU NEED

If teleradiology is used as it should be, it can be a great way to get you the answers you need as soon as possible.

The off-site radiologists are ready to receive incoming files and review images quickly to type up their report and send it off to your doctor.

If used correctly, teleradiology can be an excellent tool for hospitals and doctors.

CON: THE TELERADIOLOGIST MAY NOT BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE THEIR FINDINGS AS PROMPTLY AS THEY SHOULD

Your doctor orders medical imaging for a reason—they feel they need to go the extra mile for your health. When a doctor orders imaging, they need expert radiology answers.

They don’t want to wait a long time to get these answers because your health and life can depend on them. If something serious is going on with your health, there’s often no better way to know than a timely, accurate report from a radiologist.

Time is true of the essence, and teleradiology can ironically slow down the process.

Your doctor is relying on a doctor far, far away with whom they have no direct relationship. If this radiologist fails to get your doctor their findings accurately and promptly, your health can suffer tremendously. 

WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON TELERADIOLOGY MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT?

Teleradiology lawsuits can arise for different reasons, but they are usually diagnosis-related.

Tests can be misinterpreted, leading to a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose altogether. Whatever the cause, teleradiology malpractice cases nearly always involve a patient whose health is affected by errors in radiology.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR RADIOLOGY MALPRACTICE IN NEW MEXICO?

While you may think a radiologist is always the sole responsible party in teleradiology lawsuits, this is not the case.

The at-fault party in a teleradiology malpractice claim depends on the details of the case, but it can sometimes involve more than one individual or entity.

They can include:

    • The radiologist,
    • The teleradiologist’s employer,
    • The treating physician, or
    • The hospital or medical center.

Your radiology malpractice attorney will thoroughly investigate your case to help determine who is liable. Finding the responsible party is a vital part of a medical malpractice claim.

 

BENEFITS OF TELERADIOLOGY

Telemedicine is the application of information technology and telecommunications networks for the purpose of medical diagnosis and therapy from remote locations. A host of recent technology innovations have made it possible for telemedicine to expand its reach across every medical speciality– its usage in radiology is called “Teleradiology.”

Radiology incorporates the diverse methods used in medical science to capture images of the internal body structure and function (eg. x-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds), to assist in the process of medical diagnosis or treatment.
Teleradiology is the capability to acquire these medical images in one location and facilitate their transmission over a range so that they can be viewed and interpreted for diagnostic or consultative purposes by a radiologist.

This practice is becoming widely adopted by hospitals, urgent care clinics, and diagnostic imaging centers. The factor responsible for its rapidly growing implementation is due to the fact that it addresses the inadequacy of appropriately skilled personnel to provide radiological analysis and the lack of practitioners of this specialty.

The process of teleradiology, in essence, is based on a fundamental triad; an image sending station, a transmission network, and a image retrieval station that should have a high-quality display screen. Additional more recent technology innovations include the incorporation of cloud for redundancy and cost reduction, mobile technologies for greater access and sophisticated teleradiology workflow that enhances radiologist productivity, provide performance metrics and track quality. .

Teleradiology improves client care by enabling radiologists to supply their expertise without necessarily being at the same location as the patient. This is especially essential when radiologist subspecialists (e.g. MRI radiologists, pediatric radiologists, neuro-radiologists) are required, because these specialists are few in number and typically located in metropolitan cities. Teleradiology therefore enhances the quality of radiology reporting by bringing the images of a patient in a small town to the most specialized radiologist who is best qualified to interpret the particular radiologic scan..

On the other hand, smaller sized healthcare facilities in rural areas might use only one radiologist or none at all. In such situations, it is virtually impossible for the radiologist to be available 24 x7 x 365. Having the support of a teleradiology reporting service can both improve the quality of life of the solo radiologist as well as improve the quality of care that might be potentially diminished by radiologist overwork..

Teleradiology can be a means through which physicians can collaborate when they are not in direct contact. For example an emergency doctor at a rural urgent care center can gain obtain a radiology consultation from a specialist urban radiologist and discuss the case telephonically while simultaneously viewing his or her patient’s images. (e.g. they are in remote places). This can be extremely valuable from the perspective of enhancing patient care and improving outcomes.

Using the services of outsourcing companies or radiology groups to supply and maintain the needed radiology coverage, smaller medical facilities are able to make better usage of their own on-site specialists and enable them to maintain their regular working hours.

This can likewise be economical for the medical facility as the outsourcing institution need only spend based on utilization, and is spared the significant fixed cost of having a radiologist on site at a small institution where they may not be fully utilized . The arrangement of these expert services to manage inpatients at small hospitals without experts on site has been revealed to be a reliable way of providing high quality care that would otherwise be unavailable.

In summary, the benefits of teleradiology are related to affording access to specialist radiologist expertise where or when none exists, to the appropriate utilization of radiologist time and energy, and to the overall enhancement of patient care, while at the same time reducing healthcare costs!

The technologies today are mature and evolved, and the outsourced model wherein images are routed to a teleradiology reporting service is an established and tested one which affords significant value, especially to small rural and community hospitals. Startup costs, as well as running costs, are reasonable and affordable and the process is smooth and streamlined.

Sounds like a pretty compelling value proposition? Try it and find out for yourself!!.

29 MAR 2021, by by Teleradtech

 
 
 

Selection and training process: An important part of the growth of a teleradiology practice as new radiologists are added to the team, is to adhere to stringent recruitment processes that include not just vetting the CV but also conducting a baseline reporting quality check. Given that teleradiology presents a wide variety of reporting challenges such a process ensures that the aspirations of the radiologist are matched with the quality standards and processes of the teleradiology organisation.

Reporting standards and checklists: It is necessary for a teleradiology provider to develop clear internal standards, checklists and reporting templates to ensure that quality is maintained in day-to-day reporting. These should be available for each modality, and ensure an internal standard of reporting that forms the bedrock of teleradiology reporting operations.

Robust peer review: At the heart of any successful teleradiology practice is a strong peer review process. This essentially means review of both the examination and the report by an independent radiologist with a score assigned for error/discrepancy. Whether this is by way of external third party audit (as in the form of feedback from client radiologists) or internal peer review process, this is the true pulse check of quality and defines the organisation’s performance improvement, or lack thereof. The core philosophy behind such a process involves objectivising error evaluation (the American College of Radiology’s Radpeer scoring process is the current benchmark) and ensuring that the peer review process is consistently followed. It is all too easy in the midst of busy day to day work to let what may be perceived as “non-essential” processes slip or slide, and ensuring continuous focused attention on them is key to optimising teleradiology performance.

Rigorous data tracking mechanism: Coupled with peer review is the need for effective data collection from this process, which captures the information that is needed to provide the quality insights. The best way to ensure that steps 1 and 2 follow in sequence is to have a technology based solution for the same. In the case of our organisation, our teleradiology workflow platform Radspa also contains a robust quality assurance portal which allows for peer review to be assigned, performed and objectively scored. This data is continuously captured and subsequently extracted and sorted based on all the relevant parameters, namely based on error grade, referring client, radiologist etc etc.

Analytical approach: It is important to analyse the data effectively by asking the right questions that allow trends to be captured/identified. For an individual case, how could the error have been avoided? Is a particular member demonstrating a pattern of error on say, CT pulmonary embolism studies? Or is there a particular modality, such as CT angiography where the group as a whole has a higher error rate? Is the error pattern indicative of an individual performance issue or is there a systemic issue involved? Such trendspotting of error patterns can help to identify and address training or operational needs for the group, or to provide specific feedback to an individual. Here again, an effective online QA management and analytics portal such as Radspa can greatly help a teleradiology provider to detect and address such trends.

Couple the learnings from peer review analysis with teaching/training: As suggested by the previous step, the output from the data analysis is only effective if it is used to generate training material to benefit the individual radiologist as well as the entire group. It is necessary to capture the relevant images to illustrate the teaching point as well as to identify the specific learning insight that is gained from the retrospective analysis of the error. This process is key to transforming learning to teaching, which is at the heart of all quality improvement. The fundamental philosophy is (or should be) that the error of one should translate into a learning for all.

Learning philosophy: This last point is part of EQ or Emotional Quotient development. When a radiologist joins our group, in my initial interaction/orientation with them, my key message/request to them is to submerge individual ego in the larger purpose of learning and growth. For quality improvement to occur, it is important for the individual radiologist, however senior or experienced, to be receptive to feedback, to accept that everyone is capable of error and to be open to learning from it as well. I believe that my own greatest learnings have arisen out of my errors, and am candid in sharing my errors/misses with the rest of my colleagues, as I feel that quality assurance, to be effective, must be seniority-agnostic!

Communication and accountability: A teleradiology provider must audit itself not just on the quality of its reports but on metrics such as report turnaround time, and equally important, the level of communication on any critical finding of acute clinical significance. Ultimately in radiology, diagnosis is only 50 per cent and the other 50 per cent is clear communication. Therefore tracking of such communication is important to ensure that the organisation is compliant with protocols. Further, sharing of all such metrics in an open and transparent manner with the client is in the interest of building trust and ensures that any issues that arise are discussed and addressed to mutual satisfaction, on an ongoing basis.

Teleradiology, given its outsourced nature, has traditionally been held to a higher quality standard than in-hospital radiology. And in a competitive industry such as teleradiology represents, the differentiator must be quality and not cost. The hallmark of true quality is introspection and insight, and any teleradiology provider of substance must be willing to go the extra mile and spend the extra hours needed to gain the meaningful insights that can genuinely facilitate improved quality of performance. Hence the critical importance of a structured quality assurance program/process for a teleradiology service provider. The ultimate goal is to learn from one’s errors in order to prevent further such incidents. In teleradiology no less than anywhere else, as the aphorism goes, an ounce of prevention is far better than a ton of cure.

2022, by Teleradtech

 

Radiology has indeed come a long way since 1895, the year of the spectacular discovery of X-rays by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen. It now plays an inherently crucial role in improved and better diagnosis and patient care.

The past few decades have seen the limits of imaging informatics being pushed beyond traditional boundaries thanks to several major changes in computer and communication technology. With the advent of new technologies, such as the World Wide Web, wireless connectivity, and, now, the ever-present social networks, momentous advancement has been made in the way radiological services can be delivered. The Internet has become a crucial gateway for electronic transmission and sharing of health-related data, something we today know as “e-Health”. Many types of e-Health are currently becoming available. In many hospitals, the electronic health record (EHR) is being introduced, which allows a complete electronic record of the patient’s health information. This EHR should not only automate and streamline the physician’s workflow but also allow patients to gain control over their health data through online portals.

The move from an analog to a digital working milieu put the radiologists at the front line of producing and distributing digital images. New dedicated software products were developed. One of the most important shifts being adopted by many healthcare institutions across the globe is a paper-free environment and the Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS) and Radiology Information System (RIS). These are truly remarkable steps in this direction. Radiologists employ the PACS to store myriads of image files which can be easily retrieved at any time in the patient management. Making lives extremely convenient, the entire database of images of all patients across all modalities is just a click away. It not just saves time but with the help of software solutions like RIS, it is now possible to keep a track record of every patient from scheduling appointments to diagnosis and treatment.

Transformative new technologies, many powered by cloud-based RIS-PACS, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, promise to redefine the practice of radiology in ways that will considerably improve productivity, diagnostic quality, and medical treatment. Today, cloud-based computing in the imaging market has evolved from a service that provided cost-effective disaster recovery for archived data to fully featured PACS. It’s vendor neutral archiving services can address the needs of healthcare providers of all sizes, on the go.

Taking a look at AI, we need to identify AI’s strengths in analyzing visual images. Researchers train the algorithms to better detect potentially dangerous abnormalities, generating faster and more accurate insights to help guide clinicians’ treatment decisions. AI adoption is sure to ease the overwhelming workloads impeding the profession, facilitating radiologists to do what they’re best at and perform them better.

Going further ahead, we can examine Workflow orchestration technology too. This promises to boost efficiency and alleviate bottlenecks. By directing cases to the right recipient in the correct order, this technology optimizes the effectiveness of the read, especially in teleradiology settings. With the profession’s ever-increasing need for solutions that match demand with supply, a lot of organizations provide solutions that facilitate better collaboration across facilities for effective workflow orchestration.

Teleradiology is another field that is assisting well where streamlining workloads is concerned. Remote radiologic coverage and reliable telecom infrastructures means more radiologic analysis is being performed online to take care of workloads between hospitals. And as the field becomes progressively digitized, apprehensions regarding the security of radiology data accentuate the need for robust solutions that will not just prevent breaches but at the same time also safeguard patient information while complying with regulatory requirements.

Diagnostic images captured at the right place and at the right time give physicians, surgeons, and care centers an important tool to help provide better patient care and at a reasonable cost. For this reason, Telerad Tech has been building out solutions since 2009.

Telerad Tech was established with the goal of optimizing radiology productivity and improving patient outcome delivery through transformational medical imaging software solutions. Today, it is amongst the market leaders in providing integrated RIS-PACS software solutions for teleradiology, medical imaging centres, and hospitals of all sizes globally. Telerad Tech’s solutions cater to workflows needs across departments, including Radiology, Cardiology, Podiatry, Orthopedic, Chiropractic, Oncology and Veterinary.

We are today amongst the market leaders in providing RIS with integrated PACS with significant installations in both cloud and enterprise environment across 1500 facilities in 24 countries.

Our software solutions suite has been incubated, tested and perfected in a radiology ecosystem and are designed to address the unique needs of multiple care pathways across departments, including radiology, cardiology, dentistry, oncology, and veterinary. Our software has customizable workflow features, intelligent productivity tools & analytics and Vendor-Neutral Archive technology. It has strong patient security framework and integrates seamlessly with other systems for exchange and retrieval of electronic health information.

To enable physicians to consistently deliver optimal patient management and to augment the precious time of radiologists, Telerad Tech has also leveraged Artificial Intelligence (AI), for various radiology diagnostics.

We truly believe that the future is here

Technological development has undoubtedly prompted some anxiety among radiologists. But while tech adoption will inevitably alter the way radiologists work, technology’s clinical value will be in supplementing and adding to and not replacing or even displacing the professionals. Radiologists empowered by AI will only encounter a new, more efficient stage of radiology, helping to focus their time and attention on the most crucial elements of their job.

Also, we need to remember that image analysis is just one of the aspects of a radiologist’s job, other tasks, including discrepancy reviews, diagnostic reasoning, and patient-facing work such as invasive radiology, will still be performed by humans. Those tasks will simply be supported and enhanced by advancing technology.

The future of radiology is here, and the prediction clearly states that it will not only better health care but also the lives of all the stakeholders.

13 OCT 2020, by Teleradtech

 

Let’s face it. Today a PACS is a commodity …has been for quite a while.
Most PACS and for that matter RIS on the market can do most everything………..at least that is what the brochures claim!

For a Tele-radiology application, these are some of the important requirements

  • What are the workflow features it supports?
  •  How easy is it for a Radiologist to set up a practice for himself or herself?
  •  How many reports can the Radiologist dictate in a day?
  •  What is the cost of ownership?

Let’s take the last one first!

Today, reducing reimbursements from insurance companies, increasing competition across the globe, and the need to provide quality care in spite of all the above – are forcing owners of imaging centers to question the cost of ownership.

This is where the cloud-based solution brings value to the table. With a cloud-based solution, the vendor is responsible for the high end redundant servers housed in class III or similar data center, disaster management solutions, archiving studies and reports for 7 years or more. This solution provides a very low or practically nil cost of ownership.

The Radiologist or the owner can focus on building the business, signing up new hospitals, and bringing the bacon home! The cloud based solution gives him a lot more flexibility and freedom to go after new prospects even if they are not in the same state or even the same country.

The number of reports a Radiologist can generate in a day translates to profits. The system must be simple to use and the reporting engine and viewer must allow him to dictate as quickly as possible. Interface with a Voice recognition system, easy content (text and audio) exchange between the Radiologist and transcriptionist, peer review with ABR codes, QA, real time collaboration between different stakeholders are some of the features to look for in a system. The Radiologist must be the last link in the chain and studies/images must reach him only when they are complete in all respects, thereby saving his valuable time. Some systems have the reconciliation feature that handles this part of the assignment. The system must support all DICOM modalities which can be added any time later with ease and also support non DICOM for use with legacy modalities.

The system must be simple to use and more importantly easy to install. The Radiologist must be able to start his business or add a new hospital within hours thereby generating confidence in his business. If the hospital or clinic that is sending studies provides a VPN -then the issue of encrypting, security, and safe transmission are taken care of and there is no need for any hardware purchase by the Radiologist. If not, a simple PC that can house the DICOM router software and route the studies fast and efficiently to the central server, is sufficient. The system must also be universal such that it should not need any proprietary hardware for viewing and should be able to log in from any browser. Viewing and distributing images on a mobile device is becoming ubiquitous today and helps the Radiologist to take instant decisions from an airport or a coffee shop!

Last but not least the workflow features are very important. It is indeed an irony that when you mention workflow, most people have the “deer caught in the headlights look”. The workflow is the most important factor which contributes to the productivity and thereby to the bottom line of the enterprise. Some systems provide a “soup to nuts” solution for the workflow from capture to archive while some provide certain modules. Here it is important to get a standard off-the-shelf software that can be customized -rather than develop one from scratch and make it proprietary, finding it difficult to change in the future. The workflow defines many conditions that improve overall efficiency.

For example:

  • Assignment of studies to a Radiologist depending upon various conditions
  • Workflow parameters like TAT, number of reads, work load, QA score for Radiologist
  • Auto assignment or through manual intervention by an Administrator
  • Monitoring TAT (Turn Around Time) and reassigning studies if TAT is not met
  • Collaboration between various stakeholders through work-list
  • Customizable work-list which enables the user to see what they want to see and hide the extraneous information.
  • Monitoring QA, reconciliation, Peer review to help improve the quality of care to the patient
  • Integration with existing front end or back end solutions using HL7 or web links
  • Accessing PRIORS and showing patient demographics to the Radiologist while reporting to enable faster and more accurate reporting
  • Enabling the patient to get hold of the report and studies through a secure patient portal.
  • Use of mobile devices and maybe a QR code to make it easy for the patient to receive the information.

These are just some of the important workflow features to look for. It is best to ask the vendor what they provide – to help you improve the productivity of the Tele-radiology center. An important characteristic the software should provide is the flexibility to customize the features to get the best bang for your buck.

Many vendors who are in this business should be getting constant feedback from their valued users and keep improving their product.

Make sure they provide 24x7x365 support otherwise all the above is not as attractive as it sounds!

24 SEP 2020, by Teleradtech