Partners retire, radiologists become sick or injured, everyone in healthcare needs a vacation, and the demand for imaging services seems to grow exponentially every year. It’s the new mantra. Doing more with less under these circumstances eventually becomes a zero-sum game, and threatens professional burn-out to those left to pick up the extra work.
Diagnostic imaging reading service groups have grown and evolved over the past decade to seamlessly step in and remotely provide the expertise needed to lighten an imaging practice’s workload.
Teleradiology services are now available for every imaging subspecialty, and perform preliminary as well as final reads 24/7/365. These providers actively work to partner with a practice, taking on the roll of clinical colleagues for a group’s customers and referring clinicians.
Below is an overview of what some of the reading service companies exhibiting at this year’s RSNA plan to share with conference attendees.
Brit Systems (Booth 3503) is introducing a new workflow solution for outsourced radiology reading.
Recently, the firm has seen an increased need in the radiology community for a vendor to provide a reading environment for primary diagnosis among multiple facilities via teleradiology. To address this need, BRIT is releasing a set of advanced tools and services designed to enable radiologists to read, report and return results to various healthcare facilities.
Emory Night and Day Teleradiology (Booth 5175) is showcasing its complete set of remote reading services.
Emory Night Teleradiology offers diagnostic radiology services from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., 365 days a year. The firm’s radiologists interpret studies sent over a virtual private network (VPN) and provide a written report within 30 minutes. If an exam requires immediate medical attention, Emory will call the attending physician within 15 minutes; in addition, the group provides direct phone access for physician conferencing.
Emory Day Teleradiology provides final readings within 24-hours for hospitals and imaging centers throughout the United States. The group performs interpretations for cardiac and oncologic PET/CT, cardiac nuclear medicine, cardiothoracic MRI and CT, musculoskeletal MRI and CT, abdominal MRI and CT, hardcopy and digital mammography and breast MRI, neurological MRI and CT, diagnostic x-rays, and ultrasound from its academic medical center location.
Franklin & Seidelmann Subspecialty Radiology (F&S) (Booth 2995) is highlighting its teleradiology and client services for imaging centers, radiology groups, hospitals and physician offices.
The group offers:
- Final and preliminary report—day or night
- Subspecialty radiology reading services—neuroradiology, musculoskeletal, body, cardiac, oncological, pediatric and breast imaging
- Client support services—web-based access to reports and images, billing, protocol development/training, credentialing/licensing, marketing and best-practice operational guidance.
The company recently acquired Apex Radiology of Coral Gables, Fla., which added 25 radiologists who provide night-time final and preliminary interpretations. F&S now has more than 100 radiologists to meet its clients’ needs.
F&S has observed that the demand for breast MR imaging procedures is growing, which has increased the need radiologists who are skilled at interpreting these cases. This is driving the need for breast MRI teleradiology services to fill in the gaps in coverage availability.
F&S has six breast MR subspecialty radiologists and will add more to its radiology team as needed. This implementation process ensures that clients have the appropriate equipment on site, and provides the necessary protocols, screening questionnaire and patient preparation guidance as well as contrast precautions. F&S notes that it does not provide on-site capabilities for diagnostic exams or biopsies.
The group interprets breast MRI exams for the following diagnosis and management:
- Surveillance of high-risk patients: Recent clinical trials have demonstrated that breast MRI can significantly improve the detection of cancer that is otherwise clinically and mammographically occult. Breast MRI may be indicated in the surveillance of women with a genetic predisposition to breast cancer (BRCA1, BRCA2), or in patients with a family/personal history suggesting risk equivalent to that of BRCA1/2 prior to radiation to the chest.
- Silicone and non-silicone breast augmentation: Breast MRI is useful in the evaluation of patients with silicone implants and/or injections in whom mammography is difficult, and in patients with non-silicone implants. In these settings, breast MRI may be helpful in the diagnosis of breast cancer and in the evaluation of implant integrity and rupture.
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy: Breast MRI may be employed before, during, or after a course of chemotherapy to evaluate chemotherapeutic response and the extent of residual disease prior to surgical treatment. MRI-compatible localization tissue markers placed prior to neoadjuvant chemotherapy may be helpful in the event of complete response with no detectable residual tumor for resection.
- Postlumpectomy for residual disease: Breast MRI may be used in the evaluation of residual disease in patients who have not had preoperative MRI and whose pathology specimens demonstrate close or positive margins for residual disease. MRI can evaluate for multifocality and multicentricity to help determine which patients could be effectively treated by re-excision or whether a mastectomy is required due to the presence of more extensive disease.
- Postoperative tissue reconstruction: Breast MRI may be indicated in the evaluation of suspected cancer recurrence in patients with tissue transfer flaps (rectus, latissimus dorsi, and gluteal) or implants.
F&S also is introducing a proprietary radiology workflow technology called AccuRad. This web-based workflow system enables clients to manage radiology report delivery options via automated fax, online access, or encrypted email. It offers real-time status on report delivery progress and enables referring physicians to view reports and images online. The group says its clients can also utilize online billing and reporting. The company plans future enhancements to the technology that will include online order entry, referring physician volume analytics, and best practices educations.
International Teleradiology (ITC) (Booth 7001) is showcasing its expansion into new markets.
The firm currently provides teleradiology coverage services to outpatient imaging centers and radiology departments of all sizes in the United States, United Kingdom, Bermuda, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries.
ITC’s fully trained and certified radiologists can take over night coverage for a practice, clinic or hospital, providing referring physicians with preliminary reports within half an hour of receipt of images and information via its information technology system.
Its flexible service structures enables clients to use its day services to cover against unexpected peaks, to cover for staff absences on vacation or through illness, or as a regular part of weekly scheduling, according to ITC.
NightHawk Radiology Services (Booth 8551) is discussing its professional services, business services, and its advanced, and proprietary clinical workflow technology with representatives of radiology groups and hospitals.
The Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-based firm says its offerings are designed to improve the quality of patient care as well as the lives of physicians who provide it. NightHawk radiologists are American Board of Radiology-certified, state-licensed, and hospital-privileged physicians located in the United States, Australia, and Switzerland.
Templeton Readings (Booth 1408) is spotlighting its recently announced on-site staffing capabilities in addition to the firm’s teleradiology services.
The group provides locum tenens or permanent radiologist staffing with board-certified, fellowship-trained radiologists through its extensive network. In addition, its on-site staffing solutions can be combined with teleradiology support to ensure 24/7/365 radiology coverage, or each service offering can be ordered independent of the other.
Templeton offers a complete range of remote reading service diagnostic capabilities, including the ability to cover mammography needs, analog or digital.
Virtual Radiologic (Booth 7157) is highlighting its expanding array of subspecialty services, with an emphasis on cardiac CT angiography (CTA) and pediatrics.
Virtual Radiologic launched its cardiac CTA program this past April, offering emergent and non-emergent cardiac CTA interpretations on both a preliminary and final basis. The firm offers service options that include triple rule-out evaluation, calcium scoring and ejection fraction calculation. Virtual Radiologic has 20 cardiac-certified radiologists on staff, and is currently providing cardiac CTA reads for six medical facilities.
Pediatrics is another area of emphasis at this year’s show. Virtual Radiologic currently provides pediatric services for six medical facilities and at several pediatric trauma centers.
Overall, Virtual Radiologic has expanded its roster of contract radiologists to 120—some 95 percent of whom are U.S.-based. The company’s American Board of Radiology-certified radiologists are cumulatively licensed in all 50 states, and serve hundreds of clients supporting 774 medical facilities. The company provides both preliminary and final read services.