Do you know that the global demand for teleradiology will hit US$10,621 million by 2025? That is a compound annual growth trend of 18.4% between 2018 and 2025!
Hospitals, mobile imaging firms, emergency facilities, and some private practices use teleradiology. Having a radiologist on hand 24/7 is the key concept behind the use of teleradiology.
That generates enormous savings in hospitals that offer 24/7 care. They also benefit when they have minimal access to radiology tools.
Read on to learn how many health systems function, as well as what teleradiology is and how the medical field uses it.
What Is Teleradiology?
To exactly explain what teleradiology is, the meaning of the term radiology is a place to start. Radiology is a type of imaging procedure used by doctors to take pictures of the body’s internal components. That is generally performed either for recovery or diagnosis. Ultrasounds, MRIs, and x-rays are examples of this.
Now we can apply the ‘tele’ prefix to radiology. Tele being short for the telephone. That refers to a device that allows communication with another person in a different location.
So, teleradiology means that it is easier to send images and diagnoses to doctors in other places.
Teleradiology, a Brief History
Teleradiology has a history of over 50 years and has been instrumental in shaping the whole telemedicine industry. The telegraph method for transmitting messages over a wire was first developed in the 18th century.
Telemedicine has been influential in evolving the concept of using physicians who are not in the same place as patients. In the 1930s, the ocean liner the Queen Mary used the underwater radiotelephone for medical consultation. A doctor on board would give information to an external source for consultation and then act as a doctor for individuals on other ships.
During the 1960s and 1970s, there was considerable innovation and research. That was to develop broadcasting techniques using television and closed-circuit x-ray technology.
In the beginning, sharing was a sluggish process because you could only share one picture at a time, and the image was low quality.
That meant that the machine was not a practical hospital method because of high maintenance and operation costs. Teleradiology was not accessible for smaller hospitals in the early days of telehealth.
Benefits of Teleradiology
Teleradiology has become a top-rated service. That’s as a result of teleradiology helping hospitals, radiologists, and patients alike. Some of the benefits of teleradiology are:
- Allowing radiologists to help patients over longer distances than they would usually be able to in person.
- If you need to have a reading of an image done as a matter of urgency, always being able to access a specialist 24/7 is a benefit.
- Having access to radiologists specialized in different medical fields (not every institution can afford on-site radiologists trained in all imaging techniques).
The medical field has acknowledged that teleradiology increases access. That is done by offering a more comprehensive coverage area, after-hour coverage, and coverage in more specialized areas. Teleradiology also decreases the turnaround time.
How Does Teleradiology Work?
Teleradiology uses telephone, email, and digital data. Due to radiology’s visual nature, email and digital data are the two most used in transferring images.
Teleradiology can integrate electronic distribution channels, including cloud sharing and image storage. As well as specialty teleradiology software solutions. Yet, doctors, hospitals, and radiologists may use an online form software for such requests and sharing of information, such as
- Requests for access to electronic patient health information
- Exam forms
- Consent forms
- Patient invoicing
- Online payments
- Booking of appointments
Software used by health providers must follow the Health Insurance Portability and Transparency Act (HIPAA). And it must also follow data protection protocols.
Teleradiology Services, Who Uses It?
Almost 95% of major medical centers disclose having used teleradiology in the last decade. 80% of smaller practices have used it at one time or another over the same period.
When teleradiology was first used, rural hospitals were the most significant users. But, today, most of the medical community use teleradiology, including:
- Mobile imaging businesses
- Emergency care facilities
- Private practices
- Remote area ER services
- Doctors on doctor diagnosis teams
Teleradiology has grown over the years, offering medical services to an ever-larger variety of patients.
The ability to exchange this source of professional information through teleradiology improves healthcare quality. It also helps medical practices’ general success.
Downside of Teleradiology
Teleradiology like everything else does have its downsides.
With teleradiology, the radiologist only receives images, and there isn’t patient interaction. There is also no medical history at hand to further study and rely on for further diagnosis.
That means the doctor will have to relay this information to the radiologists that are in-situ. That could lead to uncertainty, misunderstanding, and misdiagnosis.
The fact that it is based on technology is another apparent downside to teleradiology. For example, teleradiology can’t function if the Internet is down – meaning possible delays in diagnosis and treatment.
Seeing It the Way It Is
The most sophisticated aspect of telemedicine is teleradiology!
Radiologists work on a computer workstation using image cataloging and communications software. So, it doesn’t matter where the radiologist is located for them to view those images.
It’s a challenging world out there, and competition is intense! The role of teleradiology in medical imaging practice constantly changes with technological advancement.
However, teleradiology is a very effective use of emerging technologies and modern telemedicine. It has significant advantages for patients and their healthcare providers.
If you are looking for an excellent end-to-end telehealth solution in areas that include telecardiology, telepathology, and teleradiology, contact us for a free consult!