Teleradiology: Is it All About Price?
June 10, 2014
One of the key teleradiology issues today is what might be called the Price Wars, but is it really all about price?
Many teleradiologists and teleradiology services say that one of the first questions asked by someone considering using their services is: “How much does it cost?”
Nobody can argue that price is important to everyone regardless of what they are shopping around for. If you were in the market for a house or a car, for instance, you wouldn't sign on the dotted line without knowing how much it cost.
But, when someone’s health is at stake, sub-par service in exchange for a small savings can be fatal mistake.
In a lot of instances, this would be basically comparing apples to oranges. Besides, this field cannot reasonably be considered a commodity since all teleradiologists and services are not created equal.
The Price of Cheap Teleradiology
Clients need to take more into consideration than price alone when choosing a teleradiology service.
For one thing, prices do not vary that widely. In fact, the usual difference between the highest price service and the lowest is only about 10%. While it might offer fairly significant savings to choose Service B rather than Service A because the B group charges 10% less; will it be worth this savings in the long run?
If someone chooses a service based entirely on lower price, they need to consider the risks. Using a service that is willing to work for the lowest price means that there is a very real chance this service is not only lower priced but lower quality, as well.
A service such as this might well rush through the studies in an effort to do more of them and hence make up for the lower price by sheer volume of work. Unfortunately, this sort of rush job is far more likely to incur errors, even serious or fatal errors.
How long would it take someone to recover their reputation and fees when slapped with lawsuits and patient injuries that are a direct result of cheap teleradiology service errors?
Radiology Groups Beware
Some radiology groups feel threatened by teleradiology services. This is not always an ungrounded fear. For this reason, they might tend to downplay to the hospital administration the importance of choosing a teleradiology service known for quality; saying that all services are the same so it is better to go with the cheapest.
This is playing a dangerous game and any radiologist or radiologist group who took this approach with administration might end up shooting themselves in the foot.
Because if you are a radiologist or member of a radiology group that convinces hospital administration all radiology is alike and price is the only thing that matters....it isn't a huge leap for said administration to reevaluate your cost, is it?
The best approach is to do some homework before endorsing or choosing a teleradiology service and choose one with a great reputation based on high quality and accuracy. When it comes down to a short list, you might consider choosing the service that can provide the quality you need along with a competitive cost.
You can have the best of both worlds in a teleradiology service if you are careful to choose one that combines excellent service with affordable cost.