Teleradiology Interpretation: Accuracy is Key
June 17, 2014
When it comes to teleradiology interpretation, accuracy is the key to optimal patient care.
In order to assure accurate teleradiology interpretation, there are certain criteria that must be met. You need trained radiologists and the right technology behind you. With poorly trained radiologists and substandard technology, accurate interpretation isn't possible. Sub-standard service could potentially subject your business to fatal mistakes and law suits. While cost is an important consideration, quality of service should never be sacrificed.
Prior to securing teleradiology services with any particular company, be sure to evaluate the following crucial factors.
- Does the service have the right infrastructure and IT? This is critical to accurate teleradiology interpretation. The platform needs to be easily integrated with the hospital's or other facility's current system. Teleradiology providers should evaluate their picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) or radiology information systems (RIS) frequently to ensure they are using the most up-to-date technology available. Proper IT support is also critical.
- Can the service provide references? You should speak with other clients---both current and past---to find out about a teleradiology service you are thinking of using. Ask some important questions. For example, how is their tech support? Is it fast, friendly and dependable? How often is their system down? (Be sure it was the teleradiology service system’s and not the hospital's.) If you get too much negative feedback, keep looking for a more reliable service with better technology and tech support.
Quality of Radiologists
In addition to the technical part of the teleradiology service, it is imperative that you check into their radiologists. Teleradiology interpretation is only going to be as good as the radiologists, so this is a huge factor in choosing a service.
Here are some suggestions about this side of the service:
- What are the credentials of reading radiologists? Does the service offer a pool of radiologists able to read a variety of specialties and sub-specialties? Are all of the radiologists certified by the American Board of Radiology? If not, this could be a game changer and it might behoove you to keep looking.
- Where are the radiologists located? If you deal mostly in prelim readings, using a board certified radiologist from outside the U.S. might be okay, at least to a certain extent. But, you probably wouldn't want to use these radiologists exclusively because as a general rule, it is harder for foreign radiologists to keep abreast of current trends than for domestic ones. However, bear in mind that you won't be reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid for final readings done by outsourced radiologists.
In order to have excellent teleradiology interpretation, there are a number of factors that come into play, so choose a service wisely.