What is Teleradiology? Here Is Everything You Need to Know About It

In teleradiology, medical image interpretation is done by radiologists who are not physically present at the site where the images are created.

Teleradiology is used by hospitals, mobile imaging businesses, urgent care centers, and even some private practices. The fundamental justification for using teleradiology is that having a radiologist on-site is expensive. The price typically starts at around $1,500 per day.

Contrarily, employing a teleradiology service allows you to pay for each exam, with some exams costing as little as $8. It can result in significant savings for facilities that need round-the-clock assistance or for those with a low volume of radiology patients.

What is teleradiology

Teleradiology enhances patient care by enabling radiologists to give their services without having to be present where the patient is. This is crucial whenever a sub-specialist is required, such as a musculoskeletal radiologist, pediatric radiologist, neuroradiologic, or MRI radiologist, as they typically operate during the day in busy cities. On the other hand, teleradiology enables constant access to qualified specialists.

The term “tele” can now be prefixed to radiology. Consider the term “telephone,” which describes a technology that enables you to call others who are in other locations. As applied to teleradiology, it means the images are transferred to a different location. Practitioners or doctors who are located in a different area from where the photos are taken receive the images as well as the studies that have been done on the images.

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Teleradiology was exclusively utilised in emergencies until relatively recently. This habit began to spread quickly after the internet was invented. Sending pictures is just as simple as sending emails with attachments. There are currently computer programmes made expressly for sending radiological pictures. These improvements result in teleradiology developing into a prominent medical practice, and it continues to expand in prominence.

To collaborate and consult with other physicians who are located in other areas, something he might not be able to accomplish without the technology, a doctor could choose to employ teleradiology. It aids in diagnosis, frequently aids in obtaining a second opinion, and aids in symptom management. As there might not be a radiologist on staff at the hospital, it is frequently the first opinion.

A patient entering the emergency room is one typical situation that frequently occurs. But smaller facilities might just have one radiologist on staff. The use of teleradiology enables radiologist radiologists in other locations to review the pictures that the ER teams take. In rural places, this is very helpful.

The best thing about teleradiology is that a qualified radiologist can read specific photos and make discoveries that could save lives. This isn’t always the case if an unskilled eye is looking at the photographs. Untrained eyes might not interpret a cancerous growth seen by ultrasonography in any meaningful way. A skilled radiologist might be able to tell that it’s cancer, though. Teleradiology determines whether a patient receives the necessary care or whether they are discharged from the hospital without a treatment plan.

All of this seems reasonable, and in some circumstances, it might even save lives. Yet, the practice can have some drawbacks, just like anything else. A radiologist can only do so much with images. The doctor typically conducts post-procedure evaluations. Nevertheless, with teleradiology, the radiologist simply receives the images; no patient is present for the radiologist to run any more tests on. So, the physician will need to advise the physicians who are present of his findings. That can result in misunderstandings and confusion.

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Teleradiology’s dependence on technology is another clear disadvantage. It is impossible to practice teleradiology without technology. Teleradiology, for instance, won’t function if the hospital’s internet is down. This can cause the diagnosis and therapy to be delayed.

History Of Teleradiology

At this time, teleradiology has a history of about 50 years and has had a significant impact on the development of the entire telemedicine sector. For the telephone, the concept of communication by wire transmission was created over 150 years ago. Since then, the same method has been used and has played a crucial role in the development of telemedicine, or the use of doctors who are not physically present with the patient. The maritime radiotelephone on board the ocean liner Queen Mary was used in the 1930s for medical consultation. A physician on board would relay information to outside experts for advice before acting as a consultant for people on other ships who required medical assistance.

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There was a great deal of experimentation and study done in the 1960s and 1970s to advance the methods of broadcast television and closed circuits for transmitting x-ray images of the body. The photos mostly dealt with pathology, dermatology, and radiology. When Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital’s Dr Kenneth Bird was able to establish an interactive television system that linked Logan Airport with the hospital and could be utilised to provide travellers with medical care, it represented a significant advancement.

In a comparable instance, a closed-circuit television link was constructed between the radiology department and the emergency room at the Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C. However, the device was initially more of an exhibit than a useful tool for the hospital because you could only transmit one image at a time, and the resolution and contrast were of poor quality. As a result, the transmission procedure was rather time-consuming. In the early days of telehealth, the majority of medical facilities turned down teleradiology due to its high maintenance and operating costs.

In the early 1980s, teleradiology mostly consisted of sending the radiologist physical film copies. He would next use a cassette tape to record a report. This would then be mailed back to the original facility so that a written report could be created from it. The turnaround period for these studies might take days, and occasionally even weeks. That would be acceptable for ordinary investigations, but in an emergency, it would not be sufficient.


Where is Teleradiology used?

Teleradiology is used by hospitals, mobile imaging businesses, urgent care centres, and even some private practices.

What is the cost of Teleradiology?

The price typically starts at around $1,500 per day.

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Riya Kapoor

Riya Kapoor writes about lifestyle, entertainment, news and gadgets. She has been in this industry for almost 4 years now. She is a graduate from Delhi University with English Hons and had deep connection with writing since her childhood.

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