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.
2. 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.
3. The diagnostic imaging center has started receiving injury cases at night that need immediate reporting.
Emergency/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!
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. The radiologist is excellent with reporting xrays and ultrasounds but not comfortable with CT and MRI.
As 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.
7. 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.
Dr Arjun Kalyanpur
Chief Pusher, Teleradiology Solutions
The author is Frost and Sullivan’s Healthcare Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 and Father of Tele-radiology in India . You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org .