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International Teleradiology in the Spotlight

Thanks to Dr Rahman's Teleradiology & Medical Imaging blog (no longer online) for alerting me to an article, "International Teleradiology", in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It's a short report, essentially just introducing the topic to a medical audience. Here's the gist:

Midnight in Bangor, Maine, is 10:30am in Bangalore, India. There - and in Switzerland, Australia, and Israel - sit teams of radiologists ready to read the scans and fax their findings back to the United States (urgent findings are phoned back).

"You can't reach over and slap [the radiologist] on the back, but every other aspect of the interaction is preserved," says Dr. Arjun Kalyanpur, a Yale-trained radiologist who runs Teleradiology Solutions, a "nighthawk" company based in Bangalore. In published studies of teleradiology, reports of technical problems have been rare, and the readings have been rapid (average turnaround, one hour) and accurate.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has, unsurprisingly, stated that it is "very concerned" about overseas teleradiology, though its concern is tempered by a recognition that the practice fills a vacuum left by its own members, who would like to sleep at night. The ACR recommends that radiologists who are performing distant readings be board-certified and carry licenses and malpractice coverage in the state where the image was obtained and appropriate credentials at the source facility.

The article cites three companies as "industry leaders". They are:

Teleradiology Solutions - based in Bangalore in India, and offering "a team of US Board Certified Radiologists with sub-specialty fellowship training from top US universities including Yale, Baylor, University of Massachusetts, University of Rochester and University of Illinois".

Nighthawk Radiology Services - based in Idaho, it says that it is "the world's leading provider of radiology services for hospitals, clinics and imaging centers across America". Its teleradiology services use specialists in Australia and Switzerland.

Virtual Radiologic - a Minneapolis company which says that it "serves more than 600 medical institutions, hospitals, radiology practices and diagnostic imaging centers nationwide".

April 9th, 2007
Updated October 7th, 2009



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