Though its status has certainly grown within the medical field over the last number of decades, not everyone is necessarily familiar with the particulars of teleradiology.
In this piece, we’ll cover the topic to clarify for anyone wanting to know the teleradiology definition, how teleradiology works, what its benefits are and all Specialty Teleradiology can provide for our clients.
Teleradiology is a system by which patient’s radiological images from a variety of healthcare facilities are transmitted electronically for review and reporting by experienced, offsite radiologists. The resulting reports are then transmitted back to the original facility, providing key insights about the images, and helping to determine the course of further patient care.
Teleradiology is ideal for reporting on:
Teleradiology incorporates a wide variety of technologies, including the internet, standard telephone lines, local area networks, wide area networks, and more recently, cloud-based technology.
The process for teleradiology is essentially a three-pronged system, involving an image sending station, a network utilized for transmission of images, and a receiving image station that meets clinical and quality requirements. Software has been designed specifically for the needs of teleradiologists, physicians, and medical facilities and is employed in the transmitting of images during the process.
Teleradiologists will often seek out fellowship training, which requires an additional year of schooling beyond diagnostic residency training only. Teleradiologists will also often gain subspecialty training to make themselves more marketable and to better assist healthcare facilities. Some subspecialties include:
- Thoracic imaging
- Musculoskeletal radiology
- Pediatric neuroradiology
- Nuclear cardiology
- Body imaging
To comply with U.S. law, advanced teleradiology systems must meet compliance standards as outlined by HIPAA to ensure necessary patient privacy. Teleradiologists can facilitate both Preliminary Reads for emergency rooms and other emergency cases, as well as Final Reads for official patient record purposes and billing. To comply with U.S. Medicare and Medicaid laws, to qualify for Final Read reimbursement, teleradiologists must be on U.S. soil.
The History of Teleradiology
Now that you have a better sense of the teleradiology definition and how teleradiology works, let’s take a look at the history of the practice.
Prior to the late 1990s, the practice of teleradiology was mostly utilized when a facility’s radiologist needed to conduct a reading from offsite. This form of teleradiology was conducted through the analog phone lines of the time.
With the advent of the internet in commercial and private life, however, what teleradiology is began to alter in form somewhat, growing to become a key tool in many healthcare facilities, particularly for trauma cases within emergency rooms.
As the practice grew, more types of readings became standard and the benefits of this healthcare practice began to be fully realized.
The Benefits of Teleradiology
Teleradiology can supply both patients and healthcare facilities with a variety of advantages during medical assessment and procedures. These include the following:
- Lower Costs – Since teleradiologists work on a case by case basis as a medical facility or practice needs them, the ultimate cost for their services are a fraction of what it requires for many in-house radiologists.
- Greater Efficiency – If doctors need a second opinion for a report, or are seeking out a radiologist with a subspecialty in a certain field, using a teleradiology service can be greatly beneficial and quicken the overall process.
- Better Access – Since many smaller practices, particularly those in rural areas, lack the access to in-house radiologists that large facilities in larger cities have, teleradiology allows for a simple, efficient solution to meet this need.
- Administrative and IT Support – Worthwhile teleradiology companies will provide their clients with a host of services beyond their core teleradiology ones, offering administrative and IT support among other forms to ensure everything during the reporting process goes smoothly.
- Quick Turnaround – Teleradiology companies pride themselves on their quick turnaround times because they know how essential it is to facilities to receive reliable reports as soon as possible.
As you can see, the benefits of utilizing a teleradiology service for your healthcare facility are vast. Now let’s take a moment to examine just how facilities can incorporate teleradiology into their operations.
Uses for Teleradiology
In addition to all the benefits available from teleradiology, there are also a variety of uses for the service within healthcare institutions.
- Urgent Cares – Many urgent care facilities will utilize an x-ray machine for fractures and other ailments, and teleradiologists can supply accurate, fast readings to meet these needs.
- Hospitals and Imaging Centers – When your radiologists are unavailable, or you’re experiencing higher imaging volumes than usual, using a teleradiology service can be greatly beneficial.
- Mobile X-Ray or Ultrasound Services – If you lack an in-house radiologist, as is common, then using a teleradiology service to handle your reporting can be an ideal solution.
- Research Studies and Teaching Demonstrations – Teleradiology is additionally suited for facilitating reporting for research and teaching needs, helping to advance science and train the next generation of doctors.
- Second Opinions – While some facilities might have in-house radiologists, they may wish to seek out radiologists from a teleradiology service for a second opinion, especially if they’re looking for a someone with a certain subspecialty.
What Specialty Teleradiology Can Provide
Specialty Teleradiology prides itself on offering reliable, efficient teleradiology reporting for a variety of healthcare clients, including:
- Private practices
- Urgent care centers
- Mobile/MRI/CT/US services
- Physician groups
- Independent diagnostic testing facilities (IDTFs)
Our experienced teleradiologists are board certified, with many having additional fellowship training in their subspecialty. These imaging subspecialties include:
- Body imaging
- Oncologic PET/CT
- Neuro PET/CT
To see details about our available services, visit the following pages:
Additionally, we’re dedicated to offering premium support services to ensure that our clients receive the best teleradiology experience possible. Our support includes aspects such as:
- Administrative support
- IT support
- Client support
- RIS/PACS support
And since we’re participants in RADPEER, we’re able to simplify your accreditation needs, helping you to streamline your facility’s operations.
Now that you have a better understanding of the teleradiology definition and how teleradiology works, along with all Specialty Teleradiology can provide, we look forward to speaking with you to assess your facility’s needs.
Contact us today and our dedicated team will be glad to answer any questions you may have.