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How to Ensure Accurate Teleradiology Interpretation

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It might be more beneficial for one day to have the eye of a robot who can read and interpret the medical image expertly. Nowadays, knowledge is more and more “computerized”, but generally, the synthesis of the ills of which a man suffers is not made by the machine. We are not yet in this area, or we could have an exact interpretation of radiology by a machine. The most important in medical imaging is thus its “interpretation” made by the reader’s knowledge, but sometimes using the particular assumptions derived from the patient examines.

Nowadays, teleradiology has been added to the healthcare industries with increasing demand and the limited availability of radiologists and radiology interpretation services. According to statistics, the global teleradiology market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 22.3% from 2013 to 2019.

Several hospitals have used these teleradiologists to reduce the costs of interpreting radiology. The most popular teleradiology office in the United States Afterhours Teleradiology, still called Nighthawk Teleradiology. For this purpose, teleradiology helps healthcare agencies to fight against the lack of funding necessary for the purchase of radiology equipment, to support the workload of medical teams in hospitals.

What is Teleradiology?

radiological-rad-responder-radiationTeleradiology is probably the most advanced and practiced form of telemedicine. Telemedicine can be defined simply as “the practice of medicine through a telecommunications system”. It includes “Teleimaging”, which includes other forms of telemedicine practicing remote image interpretation. Such as Telepathology, Teledermatology, Teleophthalmology & Teleradiology.

Teleradiology is the electronic transmission of radiological images from one place to another for the purpose of interpretation and/or consultation. Teleradiology can also provide a more appropriate interpretation of radiological images, provide better access to image expertise and improve continuing education. Users can view images simultaneously in different places.

When used appropriately, teleradiology can improve access to quality radiological interpretations and thus significantly improve patient management. Teleradiology is not appropriate if the available system does not provide images of sufficient quality to meet the indication of the examination. When a teleradiology system is used to produce a definitive written interpretation, there should be no significant loss of spatial resolution or contrast in the acquisition of images, their transmission, and until their final presentation. To transmit images for the sole purpose of consultation, the image quality should be sufficient to meet the clinical imperatives of the circumstance.

Recommendations and Official Standards

Teleradiology is a form of medical practice. At a lower level, each specialty may define ethical rules or recommendations to harmonize or regulate the practice of teleradiology within the radiological discipline. These rules and recommendations are variable and sometimes debatable from one country to another, because they can promote certain technological options over others, be dictated by political thought or by budgetary imperatives.

Even if the famous saying “no one is supposed to ignore the law” is universally true, it is often fictitious, and the purpose of such texts is most often to produce a “guide of good practices in turn” of teleradiology in synthesizing what can and can not be done, and the mandatory rules to follow in order not to break the law or ethics. This exercise is very difficult, resulting from the analysis of multiple experts appointed to this task, who may be influenced by political, ideological, financial or lobbying considerations.

Teleradiology between different states is widely practiced in the United States. This quickly raised the problem of certification of radiologists practicing outside their jurisdiction, a problem comparable to that posed by commercial international teleradiology, for which acts are often interpreted in a different country for reasons of profitability less paid labor. This type of service is developing very rapidly in the United States at present, but it is accompanied by a certain mistrust of the quality of the service rendered for the patient. To clarify this situation, called out published in 2005 the report of its working group (“ACR task force”) on international radiology which focuses on the forensic, ethical, training, certification, accreditation and remuneration aspects of such practice. He recommends that radiologists interpreting the images:

  • are authorized “to practice medicine” in the state where the examination was initially performed (“board-certified”), and have the authorization to practice medicine within the jurisdiction of the interpretation site.

  • be accredited as a care provider in the care facility where the examination was conducted, which means being listed as a member of the facility’s health care team.

  • those who sign the interpretation of the examination (to prevent another person from taking responsibility for an examination he has not visualized).

  • have insurance covering their medical liability in the establishment where the examination was carried out.

  • be responsible for the quality of the images interpreted.

To ensure a good interpretation of radiology, it would be necessary:

  • The service to which the patient is subscribed has the right infrastructure and the necessary information
    technology. This involves the regular evaluation of the image archiving and communication system (PACS) or the radiological information system (RIS). These must be as recent as possible.

  • The radiology department must be able to provide references. These provide information on the technical support, speed, reliability, and opinions of other customers present and past. He must inform about the frequency of breakdowns they face.

  • In addition to the quality of the devices used, radiologists who use these interpretations of radiology should be qualified. These radiologists should have good reading skills.

Conclusion:

The precise interpretation of radiology is very important for almost perfect patient care. To avoid possible medical errors and to increase the patient’s healing potential. For this purpose, to ensure a precise interpretation of radiology, several criteria must be respected. The radiologist should be well trained and state-of-the-art technology. If the radiologist is unqualified and the technology used is inefficient, or substandard, the interpretation will not be very accurate. It is true that having advanced devices for good radiology is expensive, but that should not be a good reason to sacrifice the quality of service to patients.

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