Monday, September 17, 2018

Challenges Faced When Adopting Teleradiology Services

By Karen Butler

In today's world, teleradiology has become online and global. The information technology service industry has pioneered advancements in telemedicine that has made the concept of a global office a reality. It has provided a 24-hour workforce connected through the internet where work follows the sun. This implies we can have a radiologist offering teleradiology services to individuals working night shift in a different part of the world.

It is now possible for radiology services to be offered across countries and different time zones. This has improved patient care, especially in emergency situations. A radiologist in one country can offer a diagnosis to personnel in an emergency situation in a remote hospital in another country. The staff is then able to offer the patient the right treatment.

Several applications have also been developed that have led to an increase in service delivery. E-commerce platforms have been developed to include payment, communication, and work flow monitoring services. This has led to the automation of the routing, billing and payment processes.

The most common application of the service with this platform is seen to be in large hospitals, remote clinics, and even emergency rooms. One radiologist is able to simultaneously connect to several client hospitals especially during the night shift and offer this service. This has led to increased cost savings and efficiency as the client hospitals have reduced their need for hiring additional night shift personnel.

Teleradiology has provided very many benefits and improved patient care. There are, however, several barriers that exist in the global healthcare system that prevent the adoption of the service. This has had a direct impact on the delivery of this medical service to patients. Firstly the technology used in the service requires trained technicians to operate the equipment. These technicians are not readily available. Reliable internet in remote locations is also another barrier that has hindered the successful wide-scale adoption of teleradiology.

The regulatory framework in most of the medical institutions has also hindered the adoption of teleradiology. Some institutions, for example, require a physical meeting to be set up for any consultant to be engaged. This is to enable them to validate the credentials of the person. This kind of requirement hinders the process of adopting as such a requirement is hard to meet. The licensing requirements and board certifications need to be revised to allow such advancements to be embraced easily.

Another challenge that has been noted is the fact that liability laws differ from country to country. This has impacted the service delivery of radiology negatively. The implications of the malpractice liability laws are not very clear where they differ. Some of the claims have also arisen from the improper use of the equipment and error in the transmission of data between the client hospitals and the radiologists.

Another obstacle that has faced the spread of the service globally is the security and confidentiality concerns that have been raised. The patient data is usually transmitted over a public network and the threat of unauthorized access to this data is present. The hospitals involved in the setup need to safeguard the information they have and have it encrypted without affecting its reliability.

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