Transitioning to Teleradiology

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Mark Foltz

Transitioning to Teleradiology
Telemedicine is most commonly viewed as the ability of healthcare providers (or organizations) to engage or consult with other, perhaps distant, healthcare professionals via audiovisual interactive means facilitated by the electronic transfer of medical information and imagery. Given such a capability, stipulating appropriate institutional credentialing and privileges of respective providers, the capability of healthcare providers to deliver a higher, more efficient level of patient care in a more time and cost- efficient manner cannot be understated. Telemedicine is not restricted, or constrained, as presented above and is extended to include remote physical examinations and robotic surgeries through ever-evolving and superior technologies. However, for the purpose of this report, the intent is to drill-down within telemedicine and take a closer, basic look at the teleradiology (TR) component of telemedicine in healthcare; today TR makes up 60% of telemedicine field (Kumar, 2008). In order to better understand the benefits that TR brings to our healthcare system today and for the future, a review of conventional radiology (CR) is helpful. Conventional Radiology

CR consists of exposing patients (and technicians) to a degree of radiation when a radiograph (XRAY) was taken. The XRAY film is then developed so it can be read by the radiologist; film development requires a technician in a special room with specific equipment and chemicals. The developed film is then physically delivered to, and read by, a radiologist. Reading the XRAY film generally means the radiologist is on-site (within the hospital, clinic or office). If a radiologist is not on-site, i.e. after hours or weekends, he/she is called in to do the reading. Once the XRAY is read, the radiologist prepares a report (written or verbal for transcription) to be delivered to the ordering physician and filed in the patient chart. In the case...
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