Today’s Teleradiology Services Offer Quantifiable Results
November 1, 2013
While society often awaits the next big thing in tech gadgetry, health professionals sit quietly in their offices as scientific, and highly technical, advances in imagery slowly hit stride. With teleradiology, the waiting game for huge improvements may finally be over.
More measurable today than with innovations of old, teleradiology continuously progresses inpatient treatment through the hands of radiologists that constanly strive to deliver quality healthcare from afar, thanks to intranets and image databases. We look into the quantifiable results-based developments that teleradiology has brought to medical care.
Where We Are Now
Because science refused to vanquish hope in moving teleradiology along, today’s developments in digital imagery derive from decades of technological studies and scientific fortitude, yet wouldn’t be complete without the numerous neuroradiologists, pediatric radiology pros and musculoskeletal radiologists making things happen behind the scenes. Although many telemedicine pros of this stature are located in larger metropolises, digital advancements have allowed the brightest in teleradiology to be available around the clock from Nome to New Hampshire.
Just 20 short years ago, teleradiology encompassed much smaller territory, often comprising of radiology pros interpreting time-critical studies from inside that professional’s home. Of course, since fiber optics were still in infancy stages, the connections were landline based and slow; today, with wireless technology, visual calling and much stronger imagery aptitudes make telemedicine much quicker – paramount in emergency situations like trauma cases.
Preliminary and Final Report Readings
Emergent, and non-emergent, teleradiology report readings have sped up considerably with PACS gateways more prevalently available, most hosted on servers local to where the readings occur. More robust RIS/HL-7 integration means security measures are kept HIPAA compliant, yet also allow better transparency in data integration without unwarranted connectivity errors inhibiting forward progress.
In terms of time sensitive readings, teleradiology offers growth potential which will springboard image analyses in health care, helping radiologists make well-informed decisions to pass on to patient’s primary care physician. Because of teleradiology successes, hospital-to-home readings are widely implemented throughout all 50 states for consistent off-hours health care coverage.
Areas for Improvement
Even through three decades of technological advancement in digital, wirelessly delivered image improvements, lacking network wide image management systems that reside on different domains have caused hindrances in forward progress of teleradiology. Moreover, failure to connect other health care information systems with teleradiology systems to provide multiple location data transfers could prevent various health care professionals, working from different locations, to remain ‘on the same page.’
Risks, With Rewards
Teleradiology growth is only prohibited by available technology; in order to minimize errors during image evaluations, radiologists working remotely need less cumbersome methods to interpret, convey and communicate follow-ups across various platforms. Poor technology, by and large, could lead to inaccuracies which could delay patient care or, in some emergencies, prevent lives from being saved.
With the limited amounts of collateral data needed for proper interpretation, coupled with the fact prior examinations need little to no review, teleradiology in emergency situations has proven quite accurate, especially given the limited set of indicators necessary to purport accuracy.
Radiologists must creatively use what technology is widely available to them should any hope of remaining competition exist. There’s little time for arguing the status quo of current platforms; using what’s available advantageously is all professionals can do until new technology is unveiled.
More quantifiable than decades past, today’s teleradiology is well on its way to becoming a well-fostered system that includes accelerated image readings, quicker overall doctor-to-patient communications of data discovered and the ability for subspecialists to better match supply with growing demands.