Road to RSNA 2008: Teleradiology Services Preview

The field of teleradiology has matured over the past 30 years, transitioning from a convenient basic service into what some facilities see as a necessary tool that enhances workflow, improves efficiency, and creates access to subspecialty capabilities unavailable in many healthcare environments.

Trs PdfTeleradiology's new paradigm not only offers significant clinical benefits, it addresses many of the serious economic realities of our times. The shortage of radiologists serves as a driving force for developing solutions that meet the image interpretation needs of radiology departments, freestanding imaging centers, and mobile imaging services providers.

Sophisticated and robust IT infrastructure serves as the core for advances that are now commonplace, rendering HIPAA compliance, data transfer including massive image files, and rapid report turnaround achievable. Meanwhile, redundancy, speed of transmission, and archiving are essential components of the equation as well.

Teleradiology firms have developed business models that address concerns such as licensure and credentialing and medicolegal issues, while increased subspecialty education offers clinical capabilities that rural hospitals and Native American health systems could only dream of providing in the past.

Teleradiology's growth has raised some hackles, however. There is particular sensitivity in ensuring that teleradiology firms do not compete for hospital contracts with the radiology groups they are seeking to assist. Most teleradiology companies these days recognize the need to address these potential concerns up front.

Teleradiology has moved into the mainstream of radiology practice, and it has achieved essential status for appropriate complex patient care. Given the aging population, the growing utilization of imaging, and the desire for excellence in image interpretation, the field can only be expected to grow in coming years.

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