Can Teleradiology Solve the Imaging Deficit at Critical Access Hospitals?
Advancements in Teleradiology
It’s something professionals working in rural areas know quite well, but was brought into better light in an article published by the Journal of the American College of Radiology – critical access hospitals (CAH) need more access to imaging services. Can teleradiology advancements be the answer?
Just over 55 percent of CAHs have access to some form of CT, according to the American Hospital Association. But that’s as good as it gets where accessibility to medical imaging technology goes. Around 33 percent had access to ultrasound and only 13 percent could get a mammogram at their local CAH. MRI, photon emission CT and combined PET/CT were non-existent.
With nearly 20 percent of the entire population of the U.S. relying on CAHs for their healthcare, there is an obvious gap that needs to be addressed. Fortunately, teleradiology advancements and availability have given some hope for assistance now and into the future. For instance, patients can now stay in their rural communities and “see” a specialist through telehealth technologies, such as videoconferences, remote patient monitoring and mobile health applications. But what about medical imaging?
Teleradiology isn’t exactly new. In fact, it’s been around for more than two decades, yet it’s not something that’s been widely available, especially to the communities that need it most. However, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that it began to be used by more than just individual radiologists. Back then; the connections were made with analog phone lines, so you can imagine the quality and speed of this solution.
The Internet has helped spike the growth of teleradiology from a few CT scans a week to several a night. However, with only one radiologist on staff, most CAHs were still hampered, even thought the technology allowed better access. A new teleradiology platform has emerged to lend some assistance.
For those rural providers who have sent out their radiology exams only to feel like they’ve been jettisoned into the abyss, this platform helps them manage and track exams for better accountability and far greater accessibility.
Not many vendors offer the comprehensive services that many healthcare professionals rely on for better patient care. There is a need to meet patient and radiologists demand. If you’re a provider that needs assistance managing data coming from multiple facilities, this new teleradiology platform is designed for you.
Workflow issues where medical image management are often a problem, as are reporting challenges, especially those demanded by the Meaningful Use initiatives that all radiologists must follow. However, teleradiology can manage those challenges, especially if you use TeleRad360, which is offered by OffSite Image Management, Inc.
Our comprehensive teleradiology solution features the following:
- Solves communication problems
- Manages workflow
- Is portable and seamless
- Technologists notes easily visible
- Direct communication with the customer
- Fast and accessible
- Manage prior exams easily
Contact us at OffSite today and get more information about how you can overcome the gap in your radiology services.