Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Teleradiology Services May Benefit All Of Us

By Joseph Morris

The cost of medical care has skyrocketed in this country. Government-supported insurance programs have done nothing but exacerbate this issue while providing fewer services to patients. In an effort to control the cost of care, many private doctors and even some hospitals have begun to utilize teleradiology services.

We have all seen radiology bills, both on our itemized charges as well as separate bills that come when we have been in a hospital. Not everyone realizes that radiology encompasses basically all imaging techniques from x-rays to CT scans. Even fewer patients realize that these images are nearly always sent to an off-site location to be evaluated by a properly trained professional.

Traditionally, private practice doctors have had to send the physical x-ray images to an offsite radiology service. This means that the results of x-rays or MRIs done in-house must take several days. This is why broken bone patients are generally sent to a hospital before a fixed reduction can be performed.

Few private medical practices are big enough, or wealthy enough to keep a radiologist on site 24-7. In fact, many hospitals have trouble affording to have radiologists on staff since the cost can exceed $1,000.00 per day. By sending the images to an offsite service, via online technology, a professional radiologist can evaluate the images and send a report within hours of the images being taken, allowing for ORIF surgery to be performed right away.

Ultrasound radiologists are frequently in a world all their own, and most OB/GYN practices can only support one of them. However, there are many things which can go wrong during a pregnancy, and sometimes images on an ultrasound are not exactly what they appear because a fetus is an actively moving target for them to measure and evaluate. By utilizing an off-site but Online service, more than one expert can see and evaluate the images in real time.

Pregnant women are not the only ones who can benefit from the availability of more than one radiologist. Patients who present with chest pain or have a history of strokes and other cardiology concerns are usually sent to larger area hospitals. Not only does this extend the time it takes to get proper diagnosis or treatment, but it increases the cost to the patient exponentially.

Having such specialists available in an online capacity not only lowers costs, but it allows smaller medical offices to offer more extensive testing at their facility. This means fewer ambulance trips from hospital to hospital. It can also mean that the radiologists work from home in an on-call capacity, which gives them more freedom to spend time with family and friends rather than working odd shifts at medical facilities.

These services are charging hospitals by the image rather than by the day, and the savings is measured in the thousands of dollars. It is typical for an image evaluation to be charged at less than $100.00 per image. Patients should know whether or not their hospital is being charged per-image or by the day, and pay close attention to the radiology bills that come in to be certain that the savings is passed on to them.

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