Teleradiology - Are Quality of radiology reports given significance in today's era?

Teleradiology - Are Quality of radiology reports given significance in today's era?

Being a Business Head in Teleradiology domain for over a decade now, I have been lucky enough to be a part processes which help patients across the globe receive good quality and timely radiology reports and save their lives.

Although, there have been several ups and downs through this journey, my ultimate satisfaction has been ensuring patients even in the remotest area receive quality care by expert radiologists round the clock. Being a part of innumerable business sales calls with prospective clients during this journey, my perspective about clients and their expectations has taken a paradigm shift over the last couple of years. Though we deal with clients across the globe, I have observed there has been a gradual change in the thought process from clients specially in India and their priorities have shuffled. Radiology reporting rates have taken top priority among clients and somehow the quality of radiology reports seems to fade away from the core discussions. Of ten clients (as a random number), maybe seven to eight clients seem to have rates and turnaround time as their top most priority and nothing else. In an era where teleradiology reporting providers are highly focused on subspecialty services and emphasize radiologists to upskill and deliver radiology reports with utmost precision,

I definitely feel that the clients must take a backstep and redefine their priorities. The most impacted segment because of this change in thought process are the patients. Patients walk into diagnostic centres/smaller hospitals expecting good quality care by experts. Their loved ones are anxious and struggle to pay for the patient care. But the most significant question today is are the patients receiving the right care? Are they affected by this shift in thought process? Is there something we could do to change this system for the betterment of healthcare fraternity? These are the thoughts that cross my mind every single day.

While pricing is significant, it is heartening to see clients who uphold quality of radiology reports as a showstopper. I feel elated when clients emphasize reporting quality as a dealbreaker and expect us to discuss our quality systems in detail. Clients who uphold quality more than anything else are a right partner for any teleradiology provider to help patients receive the right care.

While discussing this with few of our radiologists who have been practicing for several years, one of the important factors that stand out is the value contributed by the radiologist to deliver every single report. Radiologists might take minutes to deliver reports most of the times, but they use their extensive knowledge and diagnosing skills by spying every image through a clinico-imaging lens. They are entitled and deserve to be compensated for every radiology report they provide since they add immense value in treating a patient. They truly understand that the report they provide is a base for defining a treatment plan for a patient.

While many healthcare leaders are trying their best to ensure radiologists are valued and patients deserve to get right quality care, the need of the hour is to bring in some regulations in the field of teleradiology wherein all stakeholders involved i.e the clients, radiologists, and teleradiology service providers have a win-win situation and are motivated to make the most of it.

Let us work together to ensure patients in even the remotest areas receive timely and quality reports, saving lives across the globe.

Dr.Nisha Varadaraj

Business Head- Telemedicine